It started with a leg pain and swelling in her shoulder and neck, very soon she lost movement in her legs8-year-old Dhana Lakshmi was born healthy and grew up very energetically. Her parents Dhaana Babu and Mary have always made sure that she eats healthy food despite their poverty. She has never fallen sick. One day, she complained of a leg pain but parents thought it would subside. In a few days, they noticed a swelling in her shoulder and stomach. they knew it wasn't normal. When they took her to a local hospital, the doctors asked them to take her to a hospital in Vijayawada for further tests. By that time, Dhana Lakshmi has completely lost her movement in legs and she could hardly get up from the bed. The swelling kept growing and she became very weak. She was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma, cancer often found in the small glands on top of the kidneys. It can develop in the stomach, chest, neck, pelvis and bones. It can turn fatal without treatment.
"It all happened in just 20 days, I still can't believe what had happened to her. I begged the doctors to save her at any cost. She feels completely numb in her lower part, she is not able to bear the chemo. All she wants is to go home but I have no strength to tell her that she has got a long way to go in this painful journey." - Mary, mother.
Dhana Lakshmi needs intensive chemotherapy to battle the dreadful cancerIt has been 23 days since Dhana Lakshmi has been hospitalized. She feels embarrassed and cries about the bag attached to her stomach to collect urine and stools. She asks her mother not to tell her friends and teachers about her condition. Mary has not slept a day since she was admitted and fights back her tears every time she talks to her child about the disease. She has promised her that she'll take her back home soon but little Dhana Lakshmi needs chemotherapy before aggressive cancer spreads to other parts.
"She likes to dress up well. she has always been an independent girl, people tell me she is truly a God's gift. Now she has lost all her energy and is crying all the time. I can't bear to see her suffering so much." - Mary.
Dhana Lakshmi before the diagnosis
Her poor parents don't even have money for their next meal, the cost of the treatment is just beyond their meansDhana Lakshmi's father Dhaana Babu is a construction worker, his work is not stable and when he manages to get work, he earns Rs 450 per day. With this meagre income, he struggles to even make ends meet. So far, his friends at Church helped him start the treatment. His friends are also poor and he cannot ask them for help anymore. He doesn't know whom to turn to for help. Whatever little money he gives his wife Mary, she saves it by skipping meals and buying medicines for Dhana Lakshmi.
"All we have is our daughter but we are unable to do anything to save her life. It is painful to see our daughter suffering, we have no answers to any of her questions. I'm scared that I might lose her, I can't imagine that. I hope God shows us some way. How can He take away her away from us?" - Dhaana Babu.