Kolkata's Udayan children pray for Waugh

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2001, 22:30 [IST]
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Kolkata: It has been love from 'Udayan', a home for children of the leprosy afflicted, to their 'Uncle Steve' since he was diagnosed with a life threatening blood clot in a calf muscle.
 Get Well cards handed-painted by the children have been sent to Steve Waugh, a patron of the home. Special prayers are being held every day for the Aussie skipper in danger of suffering a deep vein thrombosis because of the blood clot. A day after Waugh confirmed his condition on October 3, Rev J J Stevens, one of the founder-members of Udayan conveyed it to the office-bearers. "We broke the news to the children during the evening prayers. They all were extremely concerned. We held special prayers for his speedy recovery. And we are praying every day," Udayan's Administrative Committee member Promod Mahapatra said. The children had played 'Holi', the festival of colours, with Waugh and posed for a photo session with their 'uncle' on March 9 this year. An Udayan patron spoke over telephone to the Australian skipper to convey to him the distress of the children. "Waugh, however, said that there was nothing to worry about and he was under treatment," Udayan's governing body member Dr D P Sen said. The 36-year-old veteran of 139 Tests will miss the start of Australia's domestic season this weekend because of his condition, also called economy class syndrome, but hoped to be back in the national squad for the first Test against New Zealand in five weeks. Waugh's sentimental bond with the children of Udayan dates back to 1998, when he became interested in the home during Australia's tour of India. The Australians had played a Test match in Kolkata, which gave him the opportunity to see the project for himself. Waugh had returned to the metropolis shortly after the completion of the tour to lay the foundation stone of 'Nivedita Bhavan', the girls' wing of Udayan. He also raised funds for the project and sent a shipment of folding cots for the home. Waugh paid his third visit to the home last year when he flew in from Johannesburg and inaugurated 'Nivedita Bhavan'. Continuing the good work, he also raised Rs 20.25 lakh through an auction-cum- charity dinner.

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