“Women Who Inspire me” –Hasitha Illa

What are you currently doing in life? 

I recently finished my Btech in biotechnology and I love my field. On a daily basis, I get to learn about the things that I didn’t know about myself, on a cellular level. It is known that even the slightest mutation in your genetics can cause a drastic and phenotypical change. But, as you dig deeper and ‘research’ one can find ways to overcome these mutations. This has really grabbed my attention, and I thrive to start and complete my PhD. But in the end, I yearn to have some sort of positive impact on our society, whether it is through this biotechnological research or even through my writings. I’ve recently started blogging with an intention to inspire and create a positive impact to the ones around me.

How where you as a person when you were little?

I was born to be a baby girl that made everyone adore me. I was the cutest little munchkin that one would see on the streets. Thus, I had a massive following circle in those days. Additionally, I was extremely social which made it easier for people to interact. During those times, I would always engage myself in various extracurricular activities. Out of all, I loved to play as a goalie in football and the soothing music of the violin kept me to learn it from my third grade. 

What age did you find out that you are suffering from this disease? 

I was 10 when I got diagnosed. The diagnosis was a difficult stage because we had to visit many hospitals. In fact, that is what made my childhood-hospital visits. What was really tough was getting a diagnosis and midway knowing it was wrong. 

Briefly discuss this disease? 

FA is a genetic condition that affects the nervous system and muscles. It is caused by a mutation in a gene called frataxin. This gene is essential for the proper functioning of mitochondria, the energy-producing factories within the cell. It is rare, affecting about 1 in every 50,000 people. Although the rate of progression varies, an individual with FA needs a wheelchair within 10 to 20 years after the appearance of symptoms. FA affects many organs and thus, produces a range of symptoms. FA can shorten life expectancy with heart disease being the most common cause of death. People tend to develop diabetes which causes extreme thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue. FA causes dysarthria which refers to a group of movement disorders that affect the muscular control of speech, resulting in altered voice quality, speech clarity, and intelligibility. 

What were the struggles? What age was you by then?

In school, people started bullying me for the way I moved around and when they started to treat me differently, I started getting self-conscious. Although there were people like my parents who gave me constant support, I found myself focusing on the negatives. This did no good to me, except, drag me into depression. Violin was one instrument which I learned passionately from the third grade but left it 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 my studies, but when I was free, it was not okay. The ‘Hasi’ in Hasitha was becoming absent.

Everyone waits for birthday but I would not because, with each birthday passing, my disease was progressing along with it. During that time I walked with the support of others. But there came a point in my life where I needed the wheelchair, but I was reluctant to. I disliked the sudden attention it gave me and the way people stared made me uncomfortable. Most of all, 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.

How did you overcome all of it?

It was during that time when  Heartfulness came like a breath of fresh air. Initially, I was sceptical to join this system, but in the end, I joined for the sake of making my mother happy. I got my introductory sittings which made me ready to meditate. Within a span of six months, I could feel a spiritual shift inside. I felt the presence of 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.

Your achievements so far?

This gave me the courage to participate in the Miss Wheelchair India pageant, where people proudly showcase their abilities. By the time I started my Btech, I became 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 completed it. I was able to successfully complete my project in CCMB, Hyderabad and gave an inspiring speech with Shankar Mahadevan. Later on, my hidden talents started unravelling. I have caught the sudden interest to write and this opened new doors for me. I started to 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 caused it.

Also, your advice to other’s all those who are struggling in life! 

I wanted to share all this because I learnt that all of us have some of the other difficulty in life. But, that should not bring us down. In fact, we should take that as a challenge and win. Because in the end, how we actually win over the hurdles, is what makes us who we are.

She has definitely inspired me and if you would like to know more about her or follow her amazing journey, you can check out her Instagram link – https://www.instagram.com/turning._.point_/?hl=en



Leave a Reply

Back to top