Little Powerhouse

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Where many adults would give up after a setback in life, six-year-old Ria proves that by staying positive and taking charge nothing is impossible in life.

When was the last time you felt that you had hit a brick wall? Whether it was a series of negative experiences, personal health concerns or hurdles in your career path that you thought you could never cross. We all at some point, would have felt it.

Ria’s family felt the same when at the age of five, Ria was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. However, Ria did not lose hope. Instead, she became stronger and started building a rock-solid foundation for her aspirations.

This is a story of our little Ria, who is in love with the famous ‘Speechless’ song from Aladdin, ‘Here comes a wave meant to wash me away, a tide that is taking me under… all I know is I won’t go speechless’, and inspires many.
This upcoming singing sensation of Melbourne, Ria, teaches us to dream.

Ria, a happy little child, born in 2011 to a small family in Melbourne, loved playing with her elder brother Kuvam and her many close friends. A very lively and cheerful toddler, Ria had always been effusive and enthusiastic about life.

In her child care centre, Ria made many friends and loved to hang out with them. Nonetheless, her teacher started noticing small changes in Ria’s routine. Ria started spending more time in the classroom than with her friends playing outdoors. Initially, Ria’s parents couldn’t recognise the reasons and felt maybe it was a phase she was going through.

However, in 2016, Ria’s first school year, suddenly the social child became extremely quiet. Ria felt tired and lethargic at all times and didn’t want to go anywhere. When her friends wanted to play outside, she just wanted to stay indoors. Her diet dropped drastically, and she started feeling thirsty all the time. “I felt bad that I couldn’t play with my friends and every day I would throw all my lunch that my mother had packed with so much love”, Ria said.

“Ria started getting constant episodes of stomach aches. I remembered one day Ria was feeling extremely weak and was almost about to faint. She wasn’t herself at all. I knew something was wrong. I called my husband, who was working at the Monash Hospital and asked him to stay there while I rushed Ria to the hospital”, said Ria’s mother who loves to be known as ‘Ria’s mom’.

“After seeing Ria and even before the test results could come, the doctor already knew what she thought could have been the problem. But I, as a mother, did not want to believe and was hoping the results would prove it otherwise and the doctors guess would be wrong. But finally, when the results came, it was confirmed that unfortunately, Ria had Type 1 Diabetes. That really shattered us,” said Ria’s mum.
This was a tough time for Ria and her family. Poor Ria had to be injected multiple times in a day. Sharing her feelings, Ria’s mom said, “I am not from a medical background, it was difficult for me to see my child like this. I was a very worried mom, and in the end, I also had to be trained to be able to inject her, which I could not do it initially.”

Irrespective of everything, Ria remained positive. She always had a smile, and she would say to her mother, “Mumma, don’t worry, it’s just a needle. I am a brave girl”.

Hearing such news when many grown-ups would easily lose hope, at the age of five, Ria started self-managing her own health. She learnt how to read labels to keep track of her carbohydrate intake. An astute learner with a strong willpower, Ria truly was not letting anything stop her. The news, the initial injections or the dietary changes, the child accepted it all and remained strong.
Then the magic happened….

Just a few weeks after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, Ria found her calling. Wanting to sing all the time, she expressed to her parents her newly found connection with music. A family friend suggested the Jaanz International Singing Academy. From this point onwards, as she turned six, Ria started her magical journey in singing.

Within a year of training and with strong support from her singing academy, her school and her parents, Ria started performing at school and in the community. Ria likes pop and classical music and loves to perform theatrical songs as well.
In 2019, when Ria felt ready, for the first time she entered a singing competition, ‘Fast Track 2019’ Melbourne Singing Grand Final, junior division. With her enthralling performance of her favourite ‘speechless’ song from Aladdin, Ria won the competition and received endless love. She says, “during my performance, I missed my dad the most, who was deployed in Iraq as a health officer (Captain) of the Australian Army.”

Furthermore, Ria has performed for Friends of the Children Foundation many times. Her performances also include the 8th Annual Walk for Monash Children’s Hospital and the annual event of Multicultural Women of the World.

Ria’s achievements are not limited only to her vocal capacities. She has also performed a Chinese solo which touched many hearts. Ria can now sing in five different languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, English, Chinese and Spanish, and can speak four different languages – Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi and English. Ria is also good in academics, and her biggest dream is to release a lot of albums under her name and travel the world. In this journey, she wishes to explore other creative pursuits like acting and writing as well.

Little powerhouse Ria says, “winning Fast Track 2019 was magical. It was completely unexpected, but I never worry about the results. I have been, and I will always keep working hard and try and achieve my goal in life”.

Therefore ‘it is all magical, and possible.’ When overcoming a health concern can be disheartening for many, little Ria found her contentment in music. Since then, she has been working hard to brush up her singing skills. Her quest for life has begun, and she loves it. Ria teaches us to unleash courage and to dream. She teaches us to smile even in the worst times. This is her story, a story of magic in hopes and dreams.

By Sanchita Abrol