The Optimist Citizen
Twinkle Kalia

Struggling with cancer, this woman runs an ambulance 24×7 to save the lives of COVID patients.

As India is grappling with the second wave of COVID, the alarming figure of three crore affected people haunts us today. Amid the chaos, a cancer patient is battling for her life. And yet, she has found a way to fight for the lives of people affected by COVID. Twinkle Kalia, the lady with this sweet name, is a warrior in every sense. The three family members – Twinkle, her husband Himanshu, and Himanshu’s father have been providing free of cost services for people in need. This help might be of an ambulance service, cremating the dead bodies, and distributing food packets to the hungry.

Their idea of free-of-cost ambulance dates back to 1992 when Himanshu had a tough time taking his father to a hospital. Due to the unavailability of an ambulance, he reached the hospital a bit late. The doctor declared his father a coma patient by then. It all happened because of the delay in getting adequate medical care in time. Himanshu didn’t want anyone else to see a similar day in their lives. When his father recovered, he was about to get married. When asked for a dowry, he requested an ambulance to fuel the fire of noble service.

Twinkle Kalia
Twinkle Kalia and her husband Himanshu, with their Ambulance

This event kick-started the journey of free ambulances. In 2007, Twinkle was detected with a Hepatitis B positive disease and had reached the last stage of her life. However, she gradually recovered from an ailment that does not have a proven medical cure worldwide. Maybe it was God’s way of rewarding them for their selfless deeds. She says, “This could all happen due to my husband’s approach towards serving humanity. If he has given me a reincarnation, I will spend the rest of my life assisting his initiative to help patients sustain their lives.” Due to this extraordinary service, Twinkle Kalia received a President’s honour on 8th March 2019. 

But who knew their lives were going to be hit by an unexpected storm. She got detected with breast cancer last year. At the same time, she was running the ambulance to help people affected by the first wave of COVID.  After chemotherapy, the radiation might have snatched her body, but her soul has a steel-heart. This lady will be seen doing rounds. Driving ambulances, carrying patients, or even the deceased. Her courage and strength has awestruck everyone, perhaps even cancer itself. 

 “Doctors advised me not to lift a single glass of water by myself. They also warned to have a bed rest of three months. But by my family’s support and God’s grace, I stood up again on the tenth day. Death could have taken me earlier, but here I stand, looking in the eyes of a risk every day and contributing my service to the nation. I wear a PPE kit, along with hand gloves, masks, a pilot glass, and cover my head with a dupatta. All of this adds heat to my body. I drive an ambulance seamlessly round-the-clock and also lift dead bodies for last rites. It has never been easy. But, I don’t want to end up tiring. As I have the will, God will carve my way”, she says.

Himanshu has gone through a phase where his heart arteries were blocked, but his determination was open. The family faces some roadblocks every day while helping the patients. But their resolve to not give up helps them find a way out. They had converted their control room into a kitchen to provide free meals. The family further plans to open blood banks, cremation grounds, spread awareness of plasma donations, etc. Himanshu reassuringly says, “People can reach us via our contact, control room, or our home address. As God has given us the bonus of life, we want to share the dividend free of cost to people. He is an insurance agent by profession. He believes that he contributes to the people by covering their risk and death through his work. And serves those who cannot avail of these benefits through his service. To date, the family owns 12 ambulances which they purchased only with their previous incomes. In addition, the support is provided free of cost. 

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