World Liver Day: How crowdfunding helps fund urgent transplants

Baby Vishal, the only child of Vadla Sravanthi and Vadla Anil, is turning 2 years this June. He has been suffering from a liver disease, Cryogenic for almost a year now. At the end, a Liver Transplantation was the only option for him to fully recover.

The transplant would cost another 24 Lakh. Anil has a small jewellery store near his home in Kukatpally, Hyderabad. He does small design work to make a living. After spending over 6 Lakh on his child’s medication and treatment, the amount looked impossible to arrange for the urgent procedure, but they started a fundraiser on Milaap, and almost like a miracle 1586 people came forward to help them collect the required amount.

The liver works hard, performing hundreds of complex functions, including fighting infections and illness, regulating blood sugar, removing toxic substances from the body, controlling cholesterol levels, and even plays a critical role in blood clotting and digestion. 

The common forms of liver disease necessitating a transplant among adults are hepatitis C (24%), alcoholic liver disease (22%), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (21%), and hepatitis B (18%). (Ref

Usually, it is recommended if the liver gets severely decompensated at the end stage of a disease (jaundice, gastrointestinal bleed, synthetic dysfunction, ascites, and encephalopathy) or for metabolic diseases in which liver either becomes diseased (for, e.g. tyrosinemia) and/or due to enzymatic deficiency. (primary hyperoxaluria, maple syrup urine disease, etc.). (Ref

According to a leading liver transplant institute in the country, about 92% of children who require a liver transplant every year are not able to undergo one. The lack of funds could be a major reason for this disparity. (Ref

Lack of funds is one of the major reasons why so many people are not able to access Liver Transplants. With the aid of online crowdfunding platforms, there are significant Liver Transplant treatments happening all over the country. Hundreds of strangers from around the world have donated to the fundraisers to support liver transplant, particularly for children. 

“In fact, over 92% of the Rs. 65 crore raised for causes from Hyderabad on Milaap are for urgent medical needs and emergencies. During such times people get little time to arrange huge amounts for specialized, complex treatments needed to save the life of a loved one.

This is where crowdfunding becomes a saviour.” said Mayukh Choudhury, Co-Founder and CEO of South Asia’s largest online crowdfunding platform Milaap. He further added that “As of December 2019, people have raised almost Rs. 160 crores on Milaap for Liver ailments”.

Durga Prasad is the son of Chinni Amarathi and Venkanna. They reside at SamarlaKota village of Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh. The couple is blessed with three children including Durga Prasad(8) who is the eldest. Prasad has two younger sisters Lakshmi(5) and Martha(3).  All the three kids have liver ailments, but Prasad’s condition became really serious. An urgent liver transplant was the only solution. 

Venkanna is a daily wage worker who works hard to earn a meagre income of Rs 300 per day and Chinni sells phenyl bottles to earn an extra income of Rs 150. Everything that they earn is mostly spent on their children’s treatment. With no savings, affording a liver transplant of 25 lakhs was next to impossible for them. 

“Liver diseases are effectively treated if diagnosed early. Undiagnosed, it can progress quite fast, destroying the liver as well as compromising other organs, causing growth retardation, and ultimately costing the child’s life. Liver transplants are highly successful procedures that have emerged as a promising life-saving solution, especially for children,” said Dr. Manish C Varma, HOD, Liver Transplant Department, Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad. 

Dr. Manish further added that “Online crowdfunding platform Milaap can be quite helpful for specialized procedures like this. It addresses financial constraints and gives every person a chance to access the best treatment for their loved ones.”

Specialized, urgent procedures like Liver transplants can be tough for anyone to afford amidst a crisis, especially for chronic ailments where a person had been undergoing treatment for a prolonged period. Medical emergencies can eat into one’s savings quite rapidly, and online crowdfunding platforms like Milaap can ease the burden at a sensitive time like this. Durga Prasad and Vishal both underwent successful liver transplants with the help of Milaap and are recovering quickly, thanks to thousands of generous strangers.

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