When one is passionate about something nothing seems impossible. Aeron who is now 80 years old was born in UP and aspired to be a Plastic Surgeon. It took him 7 years to finish his 4-year medical degree course after clearing the entrance to the medical college in his 5th attempt. But his passion kept his spirit ignited. He further went on to complete his specialization in Plastic Surgery. However, after joining the hospital he rarely got any cases in India. He was urged to do other medical work but he refused.
He bought a small plot in a cornered village near Manali, just to discover the number of victims of burns and animal attacks that were present here and their low financial status which prevented them from getting operated. Locals – and villagers from across the Himalayan range – have come to Aeron for treatment for the last several years. Most of the burn victims were children and even newborns whose parents left them in the slums while they went out to gather fodder, firewood etc. Even the local and government hospitals in the area redirect the most complicated cases to be under his expertise. There’s a huge waiting list for treatment.
Learning about the plight of these villagers, Aeron decided to act upon it. From the past 11 years, he has been running a two-week camp for twice a year accompanied by a team of around 15 doctors from the United States who bear all the expenses. The victims are treated for free and around 10 surgeries are performed each day.
Aeron has performed roughly 350 other surgeries, helped by his assistant who has been with him over 25 years and one of his sons whenever he can spare time. Around the year so a total of 500 surgeries on the burn and bite victims are performed (including the camps). Currently, they still have 10,000 patients on the waiting list for free treatment mostly from the remote Himalayas.
Financially Aeron is not very stable. His family consists of his wife, one daughter and three sons. But he derives very little money from the services he provides. Even though he faces a lot of financial problems himself yet he charges no fees from burn patients as almost all of them belong to poor backgrounds. As Aeron puts it “ Ameer admi jalte hi nahi hain” ( The rich don’t get burnt).
The Asara Trust which works for the street and slums is of the view that Aeron works magic and performs surgeries that no one would even dare to touch.Aeron has defied the definition of worldly success. In his entire career, he has earned neither earned money nor fame. But as he puts it “ When I see my patients leave with a nose, lip, eyes or even with a smile, I feel very happy.” The satisfaction and happiness he derives from his work can not be compared to any other form of success.