My name is Hasitha Illa and this is the story of how I fought through Friedreich’s Ataxia by finding my Turning Point.
As a child, I was the cutest, most bubbliest kid there was. Wherever I went, I would have many admirers. My mom never lost the opportunity to take a photo of me. I even got a marriage proposal from a foreigner at that young age!
I would join any conversation, even if it was just for a laugh and I’d be surrounded by smiles. My characteristics had fulfilled the meaning of my name, Hasitha (smile).
As I got older, I noticed the changes.
One day I abruptly started limping, which left my parents worried.
I started dropping plates due to my imbalance. My childhood, which was supposed to be filled with parks and games, was packed with hospital visits. Though I loved football, I ended up discontinuing playtime because of my physical transformation.
I was diagnosed with a rare and progressive disease called Friedreich’s Ataxia, which currently has no cure.
I was heartbroken.
When people started bullying me for the way I moved, and treated me differently, I became self-conscious. Although there were people like my parents who gave me constant support, I found myself focusing more and more on the negatives. This did no good to me, except dragging me further into depression.
The violin was an instrument which I learned to play passionately from the third grade, but somewhere down the road left angrily because I did not believe in myself.
I would isolate myself during the day and cry myself to sleep at night. I would distract my thoughts by concentrating on studying, but when I was free, I was not okay.
The ‘Hasi’ in Hasitha was becoming absent.
Everyone waits for their birthday, but I would not because with each passing year, my disease was progressing along with it. I started to walk with the support of others. Then, there came a point in my life where I needed the wheelchair.
I disliked the sudden attention it gave me, and the way people stared made me uncomfortable. I hated taking photos in it so, I was always ready to take that extra sweat to avoid it.
The thought of me being in a wheelchair crushed me.
It was during that time when Heartfulness came into my life, like a breath of fresh air. Initially, I was sceptical to join this system, but in the end, I went ahead for the sake of making my mother happy.
I received my introductory sittings which prepared me for meditation. Within a span of six months, I could feel a spiritual shift inside. I felt the presence of a divine energy that stayed with me like a guardian angel.
I slowly started to accept who I truly was and cherish the positives in life.
My Heartfulness practices gave me the courage to participate in the Miss Wheelchair India pageant, where people proudly showcase their abilities.
By the time I started my graduation program in B.Tech, I had become wheelchair-bound. However, this did not stop me from doing anything. In fact, I was ready to tackle new hurdles.
I joined my college’s hostel in Pune and successfully completed my project in CCMB, Hyderabad. I had the opportunity to give an inspiring speech, with the renowned Indian singer, Shankar Mahadevan. You can watch the video below!
My hidden interests continued to unravel.
I also suddenly gained interest in writing, which opened new doors for me. I now write a blog talking about my struggles with a mission to inspire many.
All of this makes me so happy! And joining the Heartfulness meditation made it happen.
The Heartfulness Way was my Turning Point.
I want to share all this with you, because I have learned that all of us have some or another difficulty in life. But, that should not bring us down. Infact, we should take that as a challenge to be won. Because in the end, how we actually win over the hurdles, is what makes us who we are.
I hope you too, will find your turning point, and win life. 🙂
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Hasitha Illa recently finished her B.Tech. in Medical Biotechnology.
She enjoys science and is preparing to pursue her Ph.D. in Genetics. Apart from that, she loves to use her writing skills as a tool to inspire others.
Read more of her work on her blog, TurningPoint and Instagram page.
Prashant Patil says
You story is really inspirational Hasitha. One of your greatest strength is your constant smile on face, no matter what is going in life. The last para written is very encouraging……I am sure you will achieve all your dreams.