But then in June, Mathan started to have terrible coughing fits. None of the local doctors could figure out what was wrong, and so, the family gathered whatever money they had and travelled 570 kilometers to Chennai from their small hometown. At a hospital there, Mathan was first suspected to have tuberculosis, but tests said differently. Something far more malignant was the cause of his discomfort.
A lump in his neck and his swollen hands were evidence that something was wrong
“It had been well over two months of testing and check-ups, when we finally found out what the problem was. By then, we had already wasted so much time and money. I couldn’t believe my ears when the doctor told us it was cancer. They said they found a cancerous lump in his neck and I felt like my heart had stopped beating at the news...” - Maharaja, father
The 16-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a rare cancer of the lymphatic system, which is a part of the body’s immune system. He also had fluid build-up in his hands that was causing excessive swelling and required a procedure to drain the fluid. But only days later the fluid would reaccumulate and his hands would swell up again.
After undergoing treatment, he suffered post-transplant complications
“They started his treatment immediately after his diagnosis. He underwent chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells in his body, but it didn’t have much effect on him. The lump in his neck would subside and return several times during the course of his treatment. Doctors saw no other option, and advised that he get a bone marrow transplant at the earliest.” - Sridevi, mother
Seeing that his parents couldn’t afford such an expensive procedure on their own, kind strangers made it possible for Mathan to undergo bone marrow transplant, late last year. Just as they thought he was recovering well, he contracted infections due to post-transplant complications. Now, he needs prolonged chemotherapy and radiation to make a full recovery and prevent any future relapses.
Only daily-wage labourers, they can’t afford his treatment expensesHis parents sold a small piece of land that they had and even their vehicle, so they could continue their son’s treatment. But only daily-wage labourers earning a meagre income of INR 300 - 400 a day, they don’t have the means to bear his hefty hospital expenses.
“I keep blaming myself for my negligence. Maybe if I was more educated, I would’ve known better, and I could’ve prevented his suffering. His condition wouldn’t have gotten so out of hand. He is our only child, and we’d go to the ends of the earth to save him, but we are failing miserably right now because we don’t have anything left. There is no way I can afford 10 lakh rupees! You’ve helped us once… Would you be kind enough to help us again? We will be eternally grateful to you” - Maharaja
Mathan’s life has been turned upside down by this disease that has wreaked havoc on his body and his mind. He’s struggling to cope with it, and hopes he can recover quickly so he can go back to school. But it won’t be possible without your generous support.