Narendra Limaye, 26, is an artist with a cause. After having suffered from Wilson’s disease for the past 14 years, he decided to use his artistic skills to raise funds for the treatment of others who suffer from the disorder.
Wilson’s disease is an inherited disorder in which excessive amounts of copper accumulate in the body, particularly in the liver, brain, and eyes.
Narendra, who hails from Gondia, a small town in Maharashtra, was diagnosed with the disorder when he was 12 years old. “We had no idea that Narendra was suffering from this disease. After he had repeated attacks of jaundice and his physical condition deteriorated, I browsed the internet and found that his symptoms matched those of patients with Wilson’s disease,” said Subhashchandra Limaye, Narendra’s father.
“We got the diagnosis confirmed, and local doctors put him on medication which only worsened his neurological symptoms. Soon, the doctors gave up on him and informed us that he was unlikely to survive,” he added.
The disease had rendered Narendra unable to write. He also started losing his balance while walking and developed muscle stiffness, due to which he started needing help to walk. His speech also got slurred, and he was unable to swallow well.
In 2001, through the internet, Narendra’s father got in touch with Dr Aabha Nagral, a consultant gastroenterologist and liver specialist at Jaslok Hospital, under whose care Narendra has been ever since.
Dr Nagral said, “We found that Narendra had developed cirrhosis of the liver and low blood count from an enlarged spleen. We kept him on zinc therapy with a strict low copper diet, and within two years, he showed remarkable improvement in his liver function and in muscle coordination, speech and handwriting.”
In 2004, Narendra cleared his high school exams by writing the papers himself. He had always been good at drawing as a child, and after his hand coordination improved, he started sketching and painting, which soon became his passion.
The first exhibition of 100 of his paintings was held in 2007, and it received a tremendous response. He graduated in 2009 and since March 2012, he has been holding art classes for children.
Narendra was recently in Mumbai for a meeting on Wilson’s disease for caregivers and patients organised by the Children’s Liver Foundation — a trust started two years ago to raise awareness about liver diseases in children.
“I want to hold exhibitions of my paintings across the country and raise funds for needy patients with these disease through the sale of my paintings. No child should die because of misdiagnosis or suffer due to delayed treatment, something which I went through,” Narendra said.