“Holi has always been my son’s favorite festival, but not anymore. This year, just a few days before Holi, Sombhunath had a splitting headache and his throat was swollen. In just 15 days, his headaches became so intensified that he started banging his head on the wall, saying he wants to get rid of the pain somehow. He feels that his head will blast any moment - that is how badly cancer has affected him. I can only helplessly watch him suffer” Manik, Sombhunath’s father.
The little boy’s cancer doesn’t let him eat well and forbids him from doing all that he loved
11-year-old Sombhunath did not just excel in his studies, but loves playing football and badminton too. He loved going to his painting classes as well.
All of these have come to a halt from the past 5 months. His condition became so bad that he would ask his friends to pray to God to make him well, so that he could go back to enjoying the simple pleasures of life.
“My little son has never really had any major disease before this. Now he can’t even eat solid food; juices and Horlicks are all that he can have. He is so tired that can't even get up from bed sometimes. He looks out of the window and longs to go outside, but his weakness cannot let him do that. His helpless cries and look on his face convey so much pain that it breaks our heart.”
The 11-year-old’s brain and liver are badly affected and he needs regular blood transfusions now
Little Sombhunath is suffering from rhabdomyosarcoma, cancer of the muscles attached to the bones. The little boy’s cancer has not just affected his tissues in the brain, but his liver too. He has lost a lot of weight. He needs a blood transfusion after every chemotherapy session. His cancer has been slowly spreading to many parts of his body making him very weak.
He needs chemotherapy and radiation therapy to stay alive now.
“My son is very scared to face chemotherapy and injections alone. Either me or his mother, Tumpa, has to be constantly around him when he is in the hospital. He cries if we leave him alone even for a bit. He says the entire hospital atmosphere makes him feel sick. All I want is to bring him out of the hospital and give him his childhood back.”
The only thing the little boy asks his parents now is how much time he has left
For the first time, Manik had to travel to a different city to get his son treated. They had to stay in Mumbai for Sombhunath’s initial diagnosis. This is when the little boy figured that he has cancer. He doesn’t speak much, but with the help of the internet, he figured out that he has cancer. Unlike other children his age, he doesn’t ask his parents when he will be able to play or go to school. He asks his parents how much time he has left to do the things he loves.
“I wonder how things change for the worst. Previously his only question to us would be if he can go out and play all the time, even during odd hours. He would also keep asking if he can use my phone to watch sports. But now there's only sadness all over his face. I can't even identify my son now."
This laborer father doesn’t even have money to buy food for his family
Manik works as a laborer and manages to earn Rs 5000 a month. He was barely managing his household expenses and his son’s school fees. His low income never allowed him to have savings. Now with his son’s cancer, it’s almost impossible for him to even buy food.
“My neighbors and relatives have helped me a lot for my son’s treatment so far. They have been kind enough to not ask back the money, but I will have to repay them. Now arranging a sum of Rs 5 lakhs is almost impossible for me. My son has responded well to the treatment. If we stop his treatment due to lack of money, he will go back to the same place where we started from. After coming such a long way, I can’t afford to lose him.”
How you can help
11-year-old Sombhunath has fatal cancer in the bone tissue. His cancer has not just affected his brain and liver, but his mental state. It has made an 11-year-old boy ask how long he will survive. Without chemotherapy and radiation, his other organs can also be affected badly and can result in death.