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Overcoming odds, inspiring others

Hasitha Illa
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Hasitha Illa

Highlights

Hasitha Illa, a B Tech Graduate in Biotechnology from Hyderabad started writing blogs and a YouTube channel with an aim to inspire many others like her

Hasitha Illa, a B Tech Graduate in Biotechnology from Hyderabad started writing blogs and a YouTube channel with an aim to inspire many others like her.

She is diagnosed with a rare and progressive disease that has no cure, called Friedreich's Ataxia. It is a rare genetic disease that affects physical activities causing difficulty in walking, loss of sensation in arms and legs, and impaired speech. It's also known as spinocerebellar degeneration. The disease causes damage to parts of the brain and spinal cord and can also affects the cardiac functions. Friedreich's Ataxia affects approximately 1 in every 40,000 people.

Her blogs and YouTube channels are about her struggles in life due to the disability. Her videos include people of my community living across the world. A day in my life, things every wheelchair user gets to hear and many more.

Sharing about her journey, Hasitha says, "As a child, I was the cutest and bubbliest kid there. My mom would not lose a single opportunity to take my photo. I used to be busy with lot of activities like karate, gymnastics, swimming etc. As I got older, I noticed a few changes. One day I abruptly started to limp, which left my parents worried. I started dropping plates due to imbalance.

My childhood, which was supposed to be filled with parks and games, was packed with hospital visits. Even football, the one sport which I was passionate about had to be discontinued due to my sudden physical transformations."

This left her heart broken and she faced bullying by people around her. This also led her getting negative thoughts. While everyone waited for their birthday but she did not as her disease was progressing along with it. During that time she had to take support of others even to walk. But there came a point in my life where she needed the wheelchair, but was reluctant to.

It was during that time when her mom decided that nothing matters more than her mental health.

She adds, "My mom decided to introduce me to meditaton. The first thing I noticed there was love, positive and motivating atmosphere. The relaxation techniques were soothing to my body and rejuvenated my soul. It helped me embark on a journey of self transformation. Besides experiencing calmness and peace, meditation helped me gaining self-confidence. This gave me the courage to participate in the Miss Wheelchair India pageant, where people proudly showcased their abilities."

She then caught the sudden interest in writing which led to blogging about her overcoming the struggles life to inspire othes. She joined back her college hostel in Pune and completed her studies. She successfully completed her project in CCMB, Hyderabad and gave an inspiring speech with Shankar Mahadevan. She has also been awarded as the women empowerment award for all her efforts as a blogger.

"In our society, disability is not perceived in a positive manner. Yes, we do have a few difficulties but, there is much more to see than our wheelchair. We have to look past those stereotypes and have an open mind. I want to change the perception people have towards disability and that's what my blog is all about. Through my YouTube channel, I wanted to show my humour side as I can't do it on my blog. Disability doesn't need to be something negative," she concludes.

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