Karthikk Vijay S.N. is 19 and doing his engineering. He was diagnosed with haemophilia when he was three months old.

“As a kid, I've cut myself with a blade and given my parents great grief. My childhood was very different. In school, some of my peer group understood, some did not. In college, they are a great source of support. I carry my haemophilia ID card always so that anyone who treats me knows. I do miss the regular life of a teen, playing out all the time and displaying bruises as badges of honour, but I've made the best of what I have. I play on the computer. I love board games. I'm fairly regular with physiotherapy. Yes, I do try and play cricket, but make sure I never put myself in danger. I catch all the action on television. All I want to tell other kids with haemophilia is that they must stop sulking. Understand your problem. Also remember that when you ignore instructions on staying safe, there are harsh consequences to deal with.”

Karthikk's mother, Suganthi Narayanaswamy

“Raising a child with haemophilia is daunting. Bleeding, severe pain… the children go through a lot. He might wake up one morning unable to move his elbow or ankle due to bleeding. We've learnt to react fast to any such situation. At home, my husband and I think alike. My younger son asks friends to stay away from his anna when he is bleeding. He wheels him around the house when he is sick. This is like a penance. No one else understands what you go through. Going to the local chapter of Haemophilia Society of India is like visiting your mother's house. We meet others like us.

We counsel parents on how to cope with the situation and how they must not turn the child into a cripple by ignoring symptoms.”