“Just one day’s fever turned out to be blood cancer. In just one day, our happy, cheerful son’s life completely changed. From waiting for school to start, to now waiting for the next chemotherapy cycle, our Punith’s childhood is over. He turns four next month, and all I worry about is whether I can somehow continue his treatment till the next week. But I’m failing. I don’t have enough to save my own son’s life.” – Siddaraju, Punith’s father.
Little Punith bravely walks into the hospital, grabbing on to his parents' hand. He doesn’t complain and endures even the most painful injections by reciting the poems and rhymes he learnt in school. Punith thinks that all this will end before his fourth birthday. Little does he know that without chemotherapy, this might be his very last one.
Punith's cancer was diagnosed in time, but only chemotherapy can save himOn 27 June, Punith returned home from school with a fever. By night, he was crying because of severe leg and back pain. Jyothi and Siddaraju wasted no time in taking him to the doctor the next day. They immediately got blood tests done.
“Even then we didn’t think it would be cancer. We thought once the test results came back, he would be given a few medicines and he’ll be fine again. All he kept saying throughout is that he wants to go to school and take chocolates for his friends on his birthday. Even through all this pain, he’s so brave. He’s too young to understand that his “fever” can kill him. His smile is the only thing giving us courage.”
Little Punith has started chemotherapy two days ago. Jyothi and Siddaraju took help from their relatives to start his treatment, but the road to his recovery is full of hurdles for his parents. Punith needs to continue chemotherapy for the next few months to have a fighting chance to beat cancer, but his parents are struggling every day to manage his medical bills.
Siddaraju's meager income isn't enough to afford Punith's life-saving treatmentSiddaraju works as a construction worker and earns Rs. 400 per day, on a good day. There are days when Siddaraju gets ready for work, only to reach the site to realize that there’s no work for him that day. As irregular as his work is, Siddaraju has always done his best for his family. But now, he’s wracked with guilt.
“I came to Bangalore 10 years ago with the hope to make a better life for my family. It’s been difficult, but I was trying every day. The news of Punith’s cancer has made me more helpless than ever. 10 lakhs is an unimaginable amount for me. All my relatives live in the village and hardly earn a few hundreds, there’s only so much they can help me with. I wish I was more educated, I wish I had a well-paying job. Then maybe, I could’ve saved my son’s life.”