Fundraiser Set Up for Dhriti, Still in Critical Condition after Hate-Motivated Attack

Ritu Jha-

Nothing has changed for the thirteen-year-old Indian American girl, Dhriti, of Sunnyvale, California.

She is still in a coma after going through two brain surgeries said a close family friend of the girl’s father, Rajesh Narayan, who too along with several others were injured when a man allegedly hit them with his Toyota Corolla while they were crossing the street on the evening of Tuesday, April 23 at the intersection of El Camino Real and Sunnyvale Avenue in California.

Prahlad Purohit and Vikram Chandrasekar, both close friend of Narayan, have started a GoFundMecampaign to support Dhriti and have set the target to raise $250,000. They have raised $45,171 since Tuesday, April 30.

The city of Sunnyvale police have called the act racial and was targeted toward Indians. The suspect’s name is Isaiah Joel Peoples, 34, an army veteran, who not only tried to kill the Indian family but was also armed. The police have confirmed he was also carrying an unassembled shotgun in his car. He is an Iraq war veteran and has a history of PTSD.

He has been charged with eight counts of attempted murder but could face hate-crime charges after the police learned he did it intentionally thinking the Indian family crossing the streets were “Muslims.”

Purohit in an interview with indica shared about starting the campaign fund said, “The the campaign is meaningful and we have started promoting and asking for help knowing the medical cost, and only after acknowledgment from parents.”

Purohit said the medical expenses do cover some of the cost but it’s known in such cases that rehabilitation is required, even after everything goes well. He said Narayan works for a technology company but there might be many more expenses that insurance won’t cover.

“We are trying our best to support the family, and it’s hard to cover the medical cost,” Purohit said.

Purohit further stated that Dhriti’s family said she is still in a critical condition and what happened on that unfortunate evening when she was going from home to attend the class nearby at Best Brains of Sunnyvale when the car hit her directly and she flew several feet away. The driver deliberately targeted this family and only the police can tell why.

At the time of the accident, Dhriti’s mother was in India as her grandmother was seriously ill. But she has to rush back to the states after learning about the incident.

“I cannot describe how stressful the situation is. They have been living in the hospital 24/7,” said Purohit. “I talked to Dhriti’s dad he is not angry but for them, the only concern right now is about how Dhriti recovers.”

According to doctors, even they don’t know what they really need to do. They did a couple of surgeries on Wednesday and are in a wait and watch the situation, checking the parameters such as the cerebral pressures in the brain and monitoring those numbers.

He said that the plan was they will wait for three days and now by Saturday, April 27 she was still not recovered. By Monday, cerebral fluid pressure should stabilize but as of now it keeps going up and down. That is the vital sign they care about.

The other issue is swelling in the brain. The swelling has not subsided yet, there has been no improvement, so doctors are focusing on two main symptoms to improve­­— cerebral pressure and the brain swelling.

“Until now she is on a life support system with her parameters controlled through machines. And [they are] waiting for some stability,” Purohit said.

Purohit’s daughter and Dhriti used to go to the same school in Sunnyvale, he said earlier they used to meet every day.

“We’ve moved but we keep meeting often over potluck, not every day but we meet every couple of months at either their home or our home,”  said Purohit. “The family is one of the kindest families we know and the couple is nice and kind. They are from Bihar.”

“Dhriti is darling of everyone around and the sweetest girl, very well behaved and kind to her friends. She is a 7th-grade student at Sunnyvale Middle School. Everybody in her class is super touched by what happened.”

“My daughter is so touched, they were in the same class,” he said while holding back tears. “It seems nothing has changed in the past one week; she is still in the same state and not improving and so we all are very worried about that. Hopefully, things will improve,” Purohit said and added that his friend Vikram stays with the family 24/7 in the hospital.

When asked how her father and brother are doing, Purohit said their son Prakhar has resumed school but the father has pain in his stomach after the hit from the car. Though he has gone through several scans nothing is clear yet and has to go through more tests. It’s not life threating but he is in pain as well.

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