WHILE Varad’s parents lived in fear of losing him to cancer every minute of their daily lives, Swapna and Sachin Nalawade could never have expected that India’s cricket vice-captain KL Rahul would come to their son’s aid and donate ₹31 lakh for the bone marrow transplant (BMT) surgery. The help came when the parents were trying their best to keep their 11-year-old’s dreams of becoming a cricketer alive.

The middle-class family had exhausted their life savings to pay mounting medical bills. Varad’s father had also bought his son a cricket bat for his 11th birthday in August to cheer him up and give the aspiring young batsman some hope.

Our medical fundraiser requesting people to donate for Varad’s cancer surgery was hardly two days old when Team Rahul got in touch with GiveIndia asking how much money was needed for the cancer surgery. The fundraiser had collected ₹4 lakh of the ₹35 lakh required for the bone marrow transplant. Rahul said that he would pay the rest—₹31 lakh!

We at GiveIndia were thrilled for Varad and informed the family immediately about Rahul’s generosity. The wheels were set in motion for the cancer surgery at Mumbai’s Jaslok Hospital, where Varad had been under the care of haematologists for months.

Varad's parents were trying their best to keep his dreams of becoming a cricketer alive
Varad’s parents were trying their best to keep his dreams of becoming a cricketer alive

The fifth standard schoolboy had been in the hospital ever since he was diagnosed with aplastic anaemia, a rare blood disorder. His condition meant that Varad’s blood platelet levels would drop to alarming levels making his immune system extremely susceptible to infections. Even a normal fever was taking months to get cured. A bone marrow transplant was the only permanent cure for Varad’s condition. Luckily for Varad, the doctors found a donor in Germany whose bone marrow fully matched with Varad’s.

Rahul’s only concern

When GiveIndia wanted to know from KL Rahul’s team if we could publicise this generous donation to inspire others to come forward and do a good turn, India’s opening batsman was very clear. He wanted Varad’s cancer surgery to go well before anything else and requested GiveIndia for regular updates on Varad’s health.

Varad's mother Swapna with him at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai
Varad’s mother Swapna with him at Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai

The GiveIndia team was in constant touch with KL Rahul’s team giving updates about the operation schedule, etc. Rahul expressed his happiness at the operation’s success and hoped that Varad would pick up the bat again and pursue his dream. Talking about his donation, Rahul said, “I am glad that the surgery was successful, and he is doing well. I hope Varad gets back on his feet at the earliest and goes on to achieve his dreams.”

The Good Samaritan

This is not the first time that Rahul is coming to help those in need. In 2020, when the country went into a lockdown, he auctioned his Test, ODI, T20I jerseys, his 2019 World Cup bat and other cricketing gear to raise funds for a children’s nonprofit.

Happiness is back in Varad’s family. Thanking hundreds of donors and Rahul, his Swapna said, “We thank you for donating wholeheartedly for Varad’s surgery. We are especially thankful to KL Rahul for donating such a large amount. But for him, it would have been impossible to carry out the bone marrow transplant in such a short period of time. Thank you, Rahul.”

KL Rahul gave his consent for making his donation to Varad’s surgery public only after the operation was successful and Varad was on the road to recovery. Rahul also had another aim in mind. “I hope my contribution inspires more and more people to come forward and help those in need,” he said.

KL Rahul hopes his donation will inspire others to help those in need
KL Rahul hopes his donation will inspire others to help those in need

Speaking on Rahul’s donation, GiveIndia COO Sumit Tayal said, “We thank K.L. Rahul for his generosity that will give a new lease of life to young Varad. When a cricketing icon like Rahul comes forward and donates such a large amount to save someone’s life, it can inspire millions to open their hearts and give to those in need.”

Just like Rahul, you too can help scores of other youngsters who are waiting for urgent medical surgeries. One of them is eight-year-old Yatharth. You can donate to Yatharth’s bone marrow transplant surgery here.

Established in 2000, GiveIndia is the largest and most trusted giving platform in India. Our community of 2M+ donors and 250+ corporate partners and brands have supported 2,500+ nonprofits, impacting 15M+ lives across India.


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