To Inspire. To Be Inspired. – 30 Stories on HKUST Faculty, Alumni and Students

“Live life to the fullest” is more than just a motto to those who have come faceto-face with how precious life truly is. For HKUST undergraduate student Krishna Jhangiani, every heartbeat is a reminder to be grateful, make the most of every moment, and never, ever give up. Krishna Jhangiani, or KJ to those who know him, was much like any other Hong Kong teenager. As the summer holidays approached in 2016, he was excited to head to India to visit friends. Falling ill with a stomachache, he assumed he’d picked up a travel bug, but his condition continued to worsen once he returned to Hong Kong. He never could have imagined that three days before his 17th birthday, he would be diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, a form of end-stage heart failure. The average human heart pumps out about 60 percent of the total blood in the body each time it beats. KJ’s rate was 15 percent, and he was told he had just days, hours, or minutes left to live. With a medical team determined to explore every possibility, KJ defied the odds and was hospitalized at Queen Mary Hospital for four months. Put on the heart transplant waiting list, he underwent multiple, painful operations, first to install a defibrillator, and then open-heart surgery to implant a Left-Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). The LVAD is a fully functioning mechanical heart that helps the left ventricle to pump blood around the body. Waking up from the anesthesia after this operation was one of the 89 lowest points in KJ’s life. He knew then that life was never going back to normal. But sometimes when you reach rock bottom, the only way left to go is up, and KJ’s remarkable resilience saw him set a personal goal that he would do everything he could to recover, heal, and return home.