A high fever led to the discovery of a tumour in his brain
"My grandson got ill and had a persistent fever that lasted days and left him very weak. We sought treatment, but to no avail. His condition only kept worsening. Then, we took him to a bigger hospital in Patna, some distance away from our hometown, where they ran a scan that detected a tumour in his brain. But since then, we have had no luck with his treatment. Every hospital we went to kept referring us to another facility, and refused to admit him." - Shardha Devi, grandmother
Himanshu was diagnosed with choroid plexus carcinoma, a rare cancerous brain tumour that commonly occurs in children. It begins near the brain tissue that secretes cerebrospinal fluid and tends to grow at a fast pace, affecting the function of the nearby structures in the brain and leading to excess fluid build-up (hydrocephalus), nausea, headaches and irritability.
Having fallen ill herself, his mother lives far away and longs to see him
"We are very poor. First I fell sick and then my son got ill. It was too much for us financially, so I moved to my father's place and left my six-year-old at my in-laws. It's difficult for me. I miss him so much." - Poonam, mother
The 1-year-old is grappling with a bulging head from the fluid accumulation in the deep cavities of his brain, that is putting pressure on the organ and inflicting unbearable pain on the helpless child. His lanky body has no strength to fight the disease, while his veins protrude across every surface. Without urgent medical management, Himanshu will suffer endlessly at the hands of this disease and eventually, lose his life.
"He shivers and suffers from pain and also gets a fever from time to time. It's heartbreaking to see him like this. He can barely sleep at night, and cries constantly. I ask God, if you had to send him, why did you send him like this? It's difficult for me to look at his parents' grief. My daughter-in-law often calls me and cries on the phone. Being so far away from him isn’t easy for her, either" - Shardha Devi
Struggling to sustain themselves on a meagre income, his treatment is out of their reachTreatment and the rate of recovery will depend on the size of Himanshu’s tumour, its location, and whether it has spread. In accordance with these aspects, he may need to undergo multiple surgical procedures, followed by curative chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. His treatment will cost Himanshu’s family INR 20 lakh, which is an unimaginable amount for them to afford.
Himanshu’s father, Shailesh, is a fruit vendor and makes only about INR 3,000 a month, which isn't enough to make ends meet, let alone provide treatment for two sick people.
"I have been taking care of my grandson in his mother's absence, and seeing him in pain just breaks my heart. . Everyone keeps asking us to go to a bigger and better hospital in Bangalore or Delhi, and consult doctors there. But how is that possible for us? We are not that capable financially. How will we get the treatment? We have no money!” - Shardha Devi