Resilience. Respect. Resurgence: Parita Dholakia’s Story

Of overcoming setbacks and creating support systems at the workplace. A journey with one of Abbott’s own.

What experiences shape us and transform various aspects of our lives? From health challenges and finding support in the most unexpected places, to fostering inclusivity by being mindful about diverse backgrounds, health challenges and abilities. This is the story of Parita Dholakia, Senior Manager Communications, Abbott India. She was born with Osteogenesis Imperfecta – a condition that causes bones to fracture easily and also may lead to hearing loss. Parita has shown remarkable fortitude since childhood, and her life’s journey is an inspiration for all of us today

More than her challenges

“I was born as a Blue Baby with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, and was given a 24-hour timeline to survive. That was the first battle I fought coming into this world, totally unaware of the challenges I would face going forward.”

And while she did face them head on, Parita’s many aspirations and passions were put to the test numerous times in childhood with almost a dozen surgeries for broken bones by her teens, and further on in her early twenties with progressive hearing loss that remains immune to treatment options. Fortunately, with a family who was her backbone and an extremely supportive school that encouraged her, Parita maintained a good academic record that helped fuel her dreams. She looked forward to heading to college and went on to complete her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and began an enriching career in communications, with a Pharma background.

Teamwork makes the dream work

“I’ve lost my hearing, I haven't lost my aspirations.”

By the time Parita finished her studies, her hearing loss had progressively worsened. So when she joined Abbott she was dependent on a hearing aid. Given the progressive nature of her condition, she remained vulnerable and worried But, she found immense support in her manager and colleagues, enabling her to pursue her career aspirations with zest and strength. From acknowledging and normalizing the existence of her impediment to making adjustments in communication and working styles, the support from her team went a long way in ensuring that she could be an active participant in the professional ecosystem, sans limits.

Paying it forward

Dreams do not see disability… and that’s something that Parita exemplifies. She aims to be an advocate for and help those who face similar health challenges. Despite her initial trepidation, sharing her personal story has been a brave and impactful step that has opened up conversations for so much more. Working with Abbott’s Disability Network, established to raise awareness and advocate for people with unique abilities, has enabled her to reach out to and connect with colleagues around the world. She looks forward to doing more with the network, aimed at helping people share experiences, processes and internal support to define the spectrum of disability and increase sensitization.

“Fortunately, I’m in a system where technologically and people-wise I can tackle this.”

So what can one do as an employee, colleague or organization to foster a more inclusive environment?

An empowering workplace is one which is indiscriminate; where you find the understanding you need and dignity you deserve, regardless of health issues, gender and personal background. You are heard, understood and receptive to changing practices for the better. Empowerment of the self and others go hand in hand for the greater good.

While we need to look inward to find our greatest source of strength and motivation as Parita has, supportive and accepting familial, social and professional communities are invaluable driving forces that enable us to dream, aspire and achieve… bigger and better!

Disclaimer: The information mentioned in this document is only suggestive /for patient education and shall not be considered as a substitute for doctor’s advice or recommendations from Abbott. Please consult your doctor for more information.