"My son is the biggest gift of my life. There isn't a day that I start without thanking God for giving me such a wonderful kid. He was not only active but always scored the highest in his class. He used to read English forwarded messages on my phone, even though I don't understand a word, I was proud to hear him read. But now, I get to meet him once in 20 days. I wait outside the Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) unit with tears at bay looking at him through the glass door every 10 minutes. I pray that today shouldn't be his last day. There are hardly any days left for him to undergo a transplant and I don’t have a rupee in my hand to save him. As the clock is ticking, the fear of losing my son is killing me inside.” - Srinivas, Harshavardhan's father.
These parents are protecting their son from the truth but they are unable to save him from fatal cancerHarshavardhan is suffering from Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a severe form of blood cancer where the rapid growth of abnormal cells build up in the blood and bone marrow and interfere with normal blood cells. He urgently needs allogenic stem cell transplant where stem cells are collected from a matching donor and transplanted into the patient to suppress the disease and restore the immune system. Harshavardhan is currently undergoing chemotherapy, without this urgent transplant in a few days, this child will not live long.
“Though he tries to look very calm, he is very frightened. My wife and I take turns to care for our child every 12 hours, but he doesn’t let go of his mother due to fear and he always wants her to be by his side. I eagerly wait for him to call me. Sometimes, it takes more than 20 days. He suspects something is gravely wrong with his health. A few days after he was diagnosed, he began to lose his hair. It was so drastic that when my wife used to run a brush through his hair, hair would fall out in clumps. We had to completely shave his head so that it doesn’t affect him and cause no further doubts. We always make sure to hide our emotions in front of him.” - Srinivas.
Harshavardhan before the diagnosis
In no time, along with this 12-years-old, the fate of this family has changed3-months-ago, Harshavarthan returned home from school and complained his parents that red spots are appearing on his skin. The parents thought it was mosquito bites and expected to heal soon. But after a couple of days, it just got worse and the worried parents quickly consulted a local doctor. The doctors suggested to take him to a private hospital immediately in Hyderabad. Before they reached the hospital the next day, the child suffered a high fever. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with cancer.
"We did not have money to even afford the hospital admission. The news of my son’s illness had soon spread in our village and they were very kind to immediately collect a generous amount and send me. But it wasn't enough to save him. With God's grace a few others funded to save our son. With this selfless help, we were able to afford intense treatment for three months. When I was told that I am the suitable donor to my son, on one hand, I was happy that I got a chance to save my son but on the other hand, costs of the transplant stands as the biggest hurdle and there isn’t any time left. If he doesn’t undergo the transplant within a few days this cruel disease will take my son away from me.” - Srinivas.