Dr. Sharadkumar Dicksheet

International Awards

Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services
2001-2002
Dr. Shardkumar Dicksheet., was born in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, India on December 13,1930. He spent the first two years of his life in the town of Chandrapur where his father was Post Master. In 1932, his father was transferred to Varoda where he lived until 1935 and then moved to Wardha. At the age of 13, Dr. Dicksheet passed the Sangeet Visharad Examination and received a Bachelor of Music from Bhatkhande University. Dr. Dicksheet graduated from high school with distinction in five subjects, and at the matriculation examination, Dr. Dicksheet ranked among the top ten students in the state.
In 1949, Dr. Dicksheet was first in his class at Nagpur Science College, and was admitted into their Medical College. For financial reasons, Dr. Dicksheet attended Nizam College of Hyderabad and achieved a Bachelor of Science degree in 1951. In 1951, Nagpur College of Medicine awarded Dr. Dicksheet a full five-year academic scholarship to attend their college. Dr. Dicksheet obtained his Medical degree from Nagpur in 1956. He  was House Officer at Nagpur College of Medicine for one year and then accepted the position of Railway Medical Officer.
 
In 1958, Dr. Dicksheet was selected for the prestigious and highly competitive IMA Award. Having achieved this high honour, Dr. Dicksheet went to the United States and joined the Plastic Surgery Residency Programme from 1958-1963.
 
Dr. Dicksheet resides in New York City and is a practicing Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. Immediately after completing his residency in 1963, Dr. Dicksheet knew he wanted to make a difference and use his talents to provide "A New Life" to the poor and indigent children of India with congenital and other facial deformities. In India, an infant born with a cleft lip or other facial deformities is considered a curse to both herself/himself and to the entire family and circle of relatives and friends Dr Dicksheet knew that each surgery would be a life-changing event Infants who are killed or abandoned by their parents, to avoid ostracism, or die, unable to suckle milk would thrive. Families, outcast by the social stigma of deformity, would be restored. Young boys and girls, unmarriageable and unable to work or make a living, would have a future.
 
In 1968, Dr. Dicksheet started his first free surgery camps to give dignity, function and opportunity to these otherwise condemned children of India with congenital facial and eye deformities. Each year Dr. Dicksheet spends five to six months in the poorest regions of India conducting free surgery camps.
 
Dr. Dicksheet has spent 33 years of his lifetime and millions of dollars of his own money to conduct the free surgery camps and give these children an opportunity to
be fully integrated into the social fabric of a productive society.
 
To-date, 56,500 surgeries have been performed. Each surgery also impacts an average of 10 family members and 90 relatives and friends. Through Dr. Dicksheet's human spirit and medical intervention, over 5.5 million people in India have been touched by his life changing surgeries.
 
In the first year, Dr. Dicksheet was virtually unknown and very few parents had the courage to take action and bring their children for surgery and reverse their passivity toward fatalism. After the first few camps, word spread quickly and each year the number of parents bringing their children for surgery has grown. People
began to recognize Dr. Dicksheet as an outstanding surgeon, with hands from God, who works his miracles through surgery. Today, large crowds queue up to be selected for surgery. Dr. Dicksheet is revered for his selfless service to the children of India with deformity.
 
Dr. Dicksheet's vision, commitment, and contribution, despite all obstacles, set him apart among men. During the early years of the camps, Dr. Dicksheet met with resistance from the local plastic surgeons. After many years of excellence in surgery and proving that his work serves as a successful agent for change in social inclusion, Dr. Dicksheet has achieved respect among his peers and the establishment. Today, the State requires the government run hospitals to provide free space to Dr. Dicksheet to conduct his free surgery camps. Dr. Dicksheet has a flawless record of accomplishing 56,500 surgeries without medical complications or loss of life.
In 1978, Dr. Dicksheet met with a serious car accident leaving the right side of his body paralyzed. He managed to recuperate within three years. While recuperating, Dr. Dicksheet continued to travel to India to conduct the free medical camps, and completed his fellowship in cosmetic surgery.
 
Tragedy struck Dr. Dicksheet again in 1982. Dr. Dicksheet was diagnosed with stage four-laryngeal cancer and had to undergo four major operations followed by radiation therapy and given a life expectancy of two years. One of Dr. Dicksheet's greatest love was singing classical music. But, Dr. Dicksheet did not lose hope. He continued to travel to India to conduct the free medical camps, learned how to talk using esophageal speech techniques, and studied further in the specialized field of Plastic Surgery.
 
In 1988, Dr. Dicksheet had his first heart attack followed by angioplasty. Again in 1994, Dr. Dicksheet suffered a severe second heart attack during one of his free camps and underwent triple bypass surgery. The surgery did not improve his cardiac performance. Dr. Dicksheet's heart functions are at only 18% of its capacity. Despite his grave illness, Dr. Dicksheet continues to conduct the free camps from a wheel chair. However, in the operation theatre, Dr. Dicksheet is an incredibly surgeon with hands that still perform at lightning speed. It is inspirational to watch Dr. Dicksheet has been training surgeons to continue his work after his death. In 1989, Dr. Dicksheet recruited 3 resident plastic surgeons from the United States to volunteer their hands one week at a time in one of the big city camps. Today, Dr. Dicksheet has a small group of plastic surgeons from the United States who regularly accompany him for one week at a big city camp. Since 1994, the number of indian plastic surgeons interested in participating in the project has steadily increased.
 
Today at the age of seventy and despite his health complications, Dr. Dicksheet continues to spend a hectic five to six months every year in India, giving function and future to the poorest children of India with facial deformities.
 
Dr. Dicksheet performs 40-60 procedures each day during camp season.Typically, the accompanying physicians perform 7-10 procedures per day during the week they are assisting Dr. Dicksheet.
 
Dr. Dicksheet has established a trust to carry on his work forever. Upon his death, the Plastic Surgery Education Foundation of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons will receive a portion of the assets from his trust to continue his work.
 
Dr. Dicksheet's India Project is unlike any other mission. Everyone who provides assistance to Dr. Dicksheet does it without remuneration of any kind. All administrative and surgeon costs are borne on a voluntary basis. Contributions and donations go directly to the camp operations. High volumes of medical equipment and supplies are required to run the camps, and are purchased with Dr. Dicksheet's own money and with contributions and donations made by organizations, businesses, and private individuals in the United States. Indian donations contribute to the major expenditures required to organize 28-30 camps each season.
 
As Chief Minister of Maharashtra expressed so eloquently "The humanitarian contribution of this man sets an example for the world. While following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, who preached that "Service To God Is Service To Mankind," he has exemplified how much more one can give when one is willing to give one's entire life, totally. He has shown that no obstacle in life is insurmountable when one has a goal to reach and ignoring his own suffering and misfortune."
 
This year Dr. Dicksheet is the recipient of the coveted Diwaliben Award in India for his selfless service to humanity. In India, The Diwaliben Award is one of the highest honors bestowed to an individual. Nobel Laureates Mother Teresa, His Holiness the XlVth Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Albert Schweitzer are all recipients of this award.
 
Dr.Dicksheet is therefore, very deserving of recognition by the Hamdan Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services.
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