For Gorle in India, his long journey with leprosy began over 18 years ago. He had been suffering from a fever when a Leprosy Mission medical camp visited his village and diagnosed his condition as leprosy.
“I didn’t understand what was happening. When I heard that I had leprosy, I was worried that I would die from the disease. But I remembered how my father would always encourage me to remain strong. When the doctor spoke to me he encouraged me not to worry. He said, ‘The Leprosy Mission will take care of your needs’,’’ Gorle recalls.
“Soon after, when I was admitted to hospital, eight of my friends in the leprosy ward passed away [from leprosy related causes]. At this time I was very sick, thinking that I may also die. I had recurrent reactions which caused even the doctors to panic. Yet they managed to find medications which could help me.”
After three years, the treatment was completed.
“They said I was cured,” Gorle recounts.
Two years later he married and has since had four children (two of whom have passed away).
But this wasn’t the end of Gorle’s tragedy or his story with leprosy…
In 2014, after ten years of completing treatment, he noticed nodules appearing on his skin.
“I was told that I had a relapse of leprosy. This was very rare: I was resistant to anti-leprosy medications.”
He was very anxious that his children (girl, 6, boy, 2) would catch leprosy from him.
And how would he support them?
He was no longer able to continue labouring in construction or farming.
“I felt terrible. I was just sitting at home while my wife had to support me and the children. She has been so good to me; she has brought me hope.”
The hardest part of his journey with leprosy has been the pain brought about by the reaction.
But Gorle has remained strong and optimistic throughout his treatment.
“I had survived severe leprosy ten years ago. If I could survive that, I knew I could survive a relapse,” he said.
Thanks to your support, Gorle was able to access specialty anti-leprosy medications free of charge.
“The doctors spent a lot of time searching for medications that my body wasn’t resistant to”, he acknowledges.
“I want to say ‘thank you’ to supporters in Australia. I could never have afforded the treatment without your help.”
Please pray for people affected by leprosy in India like Gorle and that significant inroads will be made in research into leprosy relapse and reaction.
To support people affected by leprosy in India, like Gorle, please consider a monthly gift of $45 or more to support their ongoing treatment. You will receive updates on leprosy care in India throughout the year.
To give, please call Georgie or Lisa on FREECALL 1800 LEPROSY (1800 537 767) or email: [email protected]