After Avani was taken to a local hospital in Solapur, where they live. Reports revealed a lump in her stomach. Not sure if it was malignant, they asked the family to go to a bigger hospital.
Little Avani's waiting to get better and go home
Stomach ache turned out to be something least expectedSomnath Ghatte, Avani’s father took her to Tata Hospital, Mumbai. The tests and biopsy carried out there gave Somnath crushing news. Avani had high risk neuroblastoma, fourth stage. Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the nerve tissues.
Since December, 2017, Avani has been receiving chemotherapy for three months. However, at the end of three months there was only a 20% chance of recovery. This was disheartening news for the family. Now, the only solution to save her life is a bone marrow transplant.
Currently admitted in Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai, Avani needs chemotherapy every six hours. Initially, the little girl was given chemo every ten days.
“The treatment is killing her childhood. She keeps vomiting and is feverish all the time. Over the past seven months, she has lost a lot of weight. She itches so much that sometimes she starts to bleed. Chemo has made her bald so she cries unstoppably whenever she accidentally sees a mirror.” -Somnath
Somnath has spent over Rs 5 lakhs for Avani’s chemotherapy, radiation and medications. However, it is no longer enough to help Avani and only helps in keeping her alive. Emotionally and financially drained, Somnath's only hope now is a bone-marrow transplant.
Managing expenses in two places is becoming impossibleSomnath and Anuja (Avani’s parents), have left their son, Sanket (13) and daughter Aishwarya (10) back home in Solapur. The expense of Avani's treatment is so high, that even paying for the education of his other two children is impossible for Somnath.
“It is difficult for my aged mother to take care of my other two children on her own. But, we can’t bring them here. It is impossible for us to stay in Mumbai and bear all the expenses. My children in Solapur are being forced to grow up on their own at a age when they need us most."
Avani is already taking chemotherapy to prepare for a bone marrow transplant. The transplant needs to be done urgently. She has been admitted to the hospital and the process of harvesting stem cells has also been done. She needs chemotherapy for a few more days before the transplant is done.
Chemotherapy is not a permanent solution
“My little girl has not even seen the world, we can’t leave her to die. Doctors tell us she has a very strong will to live. Chemo is not a permanent solution. I have to get the permanent solution and I will take efforts till my last breath to save her from cancer.”
Chemotherapy has made Avani so weak that she cannot even eat. She refuses to eat food even if it will make her feel better. Also, her chemotherapy was stopped due to extreme itching - which rapidly worsened the cancer. Nothing other than a bone marrow transplant will help Avani now.
Little Avani will be able to live only if the transplantation is done as soon as possible. The cost of the procedure is high, and Somnath does not have the time to arrange for funds. He has also used up his medical insurance that covered his family. But it covers a small part of the expense only.