"I'm scared to leave him alone for even a second. Our small home is filled with his loud, painful cries all day. On some days, he cries so much that he stops breathing and all we can hear are his little gasps. That’s when we realise we can lose him at any moment. Every time he starts crying, I try to distract him by singing his favourite song. In the past 3 months, he hasn’t gone a single day without pain. Only an urgent surgery can save our baby from this misery.” – Dharni, Ampriyal’s mother.
A few days before the dawn of the new year, Dharni and Arun welcomed their baby boy into this world. Ampriyal was born healthy, and there’s nothing more the new parents could’ve asked for. However, their baby was soon diagnosed with a severe heart disorder that often leaves him breathless and in agonizing pain. He needs an urgent heart surgery to survive, but after borrowing heavily already, his parents have no way to save him.
Their baby is getting weaker by the day and is running out of time without surgeryThe day baby Ampriyal turned 4-months-old, his parents received the most terrifying news – he has a serious heart condition that causes a large opening between the two major blood vessels leading from the heart. If left untreated, it will weaken his heart muscle and cause heart failure.
“It all began with a small cold and fever. For days, we took him from one hospital to another because his fever just wouldn’t subside. But the day he turned 4-months-old, everything changed for us. When the doctors told us our baby has a heart disorder, I immediately turned to my husband. I could see that he was also on the verge of tears. The only thing he said was ‘what should we do to save him?’ and the doctor told us that the only cure is surgery.”
Baby Ampriyal is now getting weaker by the day. Every time he tries to drink milk, he quickly stops because he gets breathless. Dharni does everything she can to ease her baby’s pain, but she can barely distract him from it for a few minutes before he starts to cry uncontrollably again.
Dharni and Arun can’t afford the life-saving surgery on their meager incomeWhen Arun isn’t working, he’s desperately looking for a way to afford the treatment.Arun and Dharni work as tea leaf pickers in their hometown in West Bengal and earn a meager amount. After barely earning Rs. 150 per day, they don’t have the means to afford 1.6 lakhs for their baby’s life-saving surgery. Dharni hasn’t gone for work in months due to her son’s deteriorating health.
“Arun lost both his parents a few years ago, and I lost my father when I was very young. My mother also works as a tea picker occasionally and tries to help us with whatever little she makes. But all our earnings put together is not enough. We don’t have anyone else to rely on. We had to borrow money for even small tests, a surgery is beyond our means.”