A schoolboy who lived with his head hanging to one side is finally able to see the world ‘straight’ after life-changing surgery.
Mahendra Ahirwar, 13, has a rare condition that made his neck muscles so weak his head hung at a 180-degree angle.
His crocked neck meant Mahendra was restricted to just sitting as he was unable to stand or walk and needed help to eat and go to the toilet.
Mahendra’s life has been transformed thanks to a stranger, mother-of-two Julie Jones living 4,000 miles away in Liverpool who read his story and raised £12,000 for an operation to straighten his neck.
Now the Mahendra can do the same things other boys his age can – like go to school.
His dad Mukesh, 41, told MailOnline: ‘It’s a miracle! He looks great. His neck is straight; and his life is so very different.
‘He’s in a good place. It was heart breaking to see him before. We were on the brink of losing him. When his neck was bent he was too shy to speak but now he feels like a normal person and we can see his confidence levels growing. He is very happy now. He says he can feel the difference and he loves it.’
Mahendra, from Madhya Pradesh, central India, was born with a normal neck but as he grew older his bones became weak and his neck began to bend.
But after years trying to find treatment, Mahendra seeing doctors two years ago and was resigned to spending the rest of his life with a crocked neck.
When Mahendra’s story made headlines around the world, spine surgeon Dr Rajagopalan Krishnan, from Apollo Hospital, in Delhi, offered to help.
In the first surgery of its kind, Dr Krishnan, who spent 15 years working for the NHS in the UK, had to operate on Mahendra’s spine by opening up the front part of his neck.
During surgery the front of his cervical spine was left completely exposed because of his extraordinarily thin skin.
Dr Krishnan removed the disks from his neck and replace them with bone graft from his pelvis and then fit a metal plate to secure the neck straight.
He said: ‘When I met Mahendra for the first time what surprised me the most was the neglect of his condition for 12 years. There was no diagnosis let alone treatment.
‘I was certain that I could improve his quality of life and that he’d be able to look at the world straight rather than upside down.’
Fundraiser Julie, who works as a secondary school careers co-ordinator, launched a crowd funding website after she read about Mahendra’s plight and desperately wanted to help.
She said: ‘It was tragic to see pictures of Mahendra as he was. All I could think about was my own son and how I’d feel if he was in that situation.’
In February Mahendra spent a fortnight in Apollo hospital before being allowed to go home to recover in the hope his neck would not bend again.
Now, seven months on, his neck is still straight and Mahendra’s future is looking much brighter.
‘I can finally say we are a happy family now,’ Mukesh said. ‘Happiness has found our address after Mahendra’s surgery. I feel so blessed.’
Now Mahendra is going to the local school and is learning to write. DailyMail