The News Website for Glendale High School


Breaking News
  • May 31The Black Team defeats the Pink Team, 41-7, in the 2024 Powderpuff Football Game!
  • May 24Senior Lilit Arakelyan wins the 2024 Pat Navalonic Memorial Award! Lilit will be attending UCLA in the fall!
  • May 1Senior Alexis Cabral wins the 2024 Lancaster Prize, for her article "A Day Without a Phone"!
  • November 18Girls varsity volleyball team defeats Marin Academy, 3-1, to win CIF Division IV State Championship!
  • November 2Girls varsity volleyball beats Moorpark, 3-0, to claim CIF SS Division 6 Championship!
  • September 13Dr. Lynette Ohanian named GHS Principal! Her previous AP position will be filled by Ms. Jessica De La O!
The News Website for Glendale High School


The News Website for Glendale High School


Rooting for Roona

A Miracle Baby from India

Rooting for Roona is a Netflix original documentary that highlights five years in the life of a little girl named Roona Begum, who was born with a birth defect called advanced hydrocephalus. This documentary was released on October 15 and is 41 minutes long. It was directed by Pavitra Chalam and Akshay Shankar, and the people highlighted in this film include Roona’s parents, Fatema Begum and Abdul Rahman, some of Roona’s relatives, and the others who helped take care of her. Overall, I loved this documentary because of how open these people are in documenting Roona’s life, and it is also very emotional. 

Roona Begum was born in Jirania Khola, a tiny village in Tripura, India. Growing up, it was pretty difficult for her to see and do things on her own because of the size of her head. Her mother Fatema was a housewife, while her father Abdul worked as a bricklayer.

In April 2013, when Roona was 16 months old, she was given the chance to undergo multiple surgical treatments in a hospital in New Delhi, India. Even though her condition was very severe, Roona’s neurologist, Dr. Sandeep Vaishya, was confident that they would be able to reduce the size of her head.

In total, Roona was able to survive five surgeries. The first one focused on draining the fluid inside her head, while the fifth one focused on the reduction of her skull. In the film, it stated that “in five months, Roona’s head was reduced from 94 cm to 58.5 cm.” 

After surviving these surgeries, Roona was able to return back to Tripura to heal and be with her family. When her relatives got to see her, they claimed that she was doing so much better. Fatema also expressed that “as long as there is life and strength in me, I will do whatever it takes. I’ll do it so I can run with Roona one day.” Even if it was hard for her to see her daughter suffering like this, Fatema still had faith that Roona would be able to be “normal” someday. 

Over the next three years, Roona remained safe and healthy. She still wasn’t able to do things on her own and Fatema had to help her walk and sit up. In 2017, Roona had to have her sixth surgery for the final treatment, but things didn’t go as planned. Dr. Vaishya discovered that Roona had chicken pox and she had to fully recover before the last surgery.

Unfortunately in June 2017, when she was 5 and a half years old, Roona developed a breathing deficiency and passed away. This really made Fatema and Abdul devastated, as they both hoped to have a brighter future with her. Towards the end of this documentary, Abdul expresses how “people always told us to give her away, but we decided Roona would stay with us. In life or death.”

Once again, this film is inspiring and emotional, and I would recommend people to watch it. As a person who has gone through the same thing as Roona, it is hard when others view you as “different”. It is impressive to see that, although their daughter was suffering from hydrocephalus, Fatema and Abdul did not give up on her and made sure that they did everything to keep her safe and alive. 

Even if Roona isn’t with her family anymore, her strength and fighting spirit will live on forever. Seeing what she has gone through reminds us that no matter the amount of hardships that we face, we will get through them as long as we persist and have that fighting spirit within us.

About the Contributor
Lauren Claire Avelino
Lauren Claire Avelino, Editor-in-Chief
Lauren Claire is a senior at Glendale High School. She is the president of the Best Buddies Club and is a Nitro Crew leader. She enjoys reading and writing, listening to music, and spending time with her family.
More to Discover