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Kerala girl battles rare Morquio Syndrome, builds a fulfilling life

Gopika Dileep. Photos: Special Arrangement

Gopika Dileep, a resident of Muvattupuzha in Kerala, has defied the odds stacked against her by battling Morquio Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, to excel in academics and build a successful life of her own.

Morquio Syndrome is a rare inherited metabolic disorder characterized by skeletal abnormalities, distinctive facial features, and often leads to a range of health complications. Despite facing significant challenges from the age of three, Gopika refused to let her condition define her capabilities or limit her aspirations.

Gopika, 21, is now pursuing an integrated post-graduation course specializing in physics at Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT). It was at the age of three that her parents noticed physical deformities on her body and by the age of seven, doctors confirmed her condition was Morquio Syndrome. Growing up with Morquio syndrome presented Gopika with numerous obstacles, from physical limitations to enduring medical treatments. However, she remained undeterred in her life and continued to face the challenges head-on.

At the age of 15, she underwent her first and only surgery, during which one rib bone was taken and tied to her neck bone. “I never saw my condition as a barrier to my dreams,” Gopika told “Open Digest.”

“My neck was one bone less. So the doctor had to place an additional bone to ensure that the neck and spinal cord had proper support. The surgery and post-surgery days were really painful. Still, it pains at times. Sipping water was painful for days after the surgery. But I was determined to prove that I am capable of moving forward in life regardless of the challenges,” she said.

Despite numerous hospital visits and medical interventions, she consistently maintained a stellar academic record, earning top grades and excelling in her chosen field of study.

Her determination to succeed is a testament to her strength of character. “My parents and my sister are my strength. They have been taking care of me and providing me the necessary support. I want to build a career so that I can take care of them and ensure their happiness,” she said.

Beyond her academic pursuits, Gopika harbours an ambitious dream to learn dance and drive a car. “I refuse to let my condition hold me back,” she said. With her unwavering determination and indomitable spirit, Gopika is truly an inspiration for us all.

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