“I used to have trouble combing her long thick hair into plaits. I used to complain. But today, I’d give anything to be able to do it at least once. But it’s all gone. Her head has been shaved! She’s lying in the ICU, speechless, motionless and unconscious. The only thing that haunts me now is ‘Why her? Why did it have to be our 14-year-old daughter?”
With tubes in the place of her long-plaited hair; silence in the place of all the talking, and a weak face where there once was a wide smile, Rithika lies unconscious, battling blood cancer.
To people like us, cancer means one thing - death
14-year-old Rithika who just started class 10 was going to school like every other kid her age. Not a week had gone by, and she fell sick. She felt dizzy all the time, her legs swelled up and things began to change. Her parents rushed her to the hospital and the diagnosis knocked the breath out of them. Suddenly, they were told she was battling for life - battling against blood cancer!
“We initially thought it was a severe infection which would go away in a few days. You know, we aren’t educated and hardly have enough income. To people like us, cancer means one thing - death.The only thing my husband said was that, if she had to leave, we’d all leave with her too. He was shocked and hurt, beyond everything. Still is.” – Santha Gowri, Mother.
"My heart broke when the last time she spoke, she begged for water. She wasn’t allowed to drink. I stood there seeing her cry for water. I can’t remember the last time she ate!"
I can't help but think, what if that was the last time I'll see her smile?After being diagnosed with cancer, Rithika underwent chemotherapy twice. However, because her lungs got severely infected, she was rushed to the ICU and is now on the ventilator. It has been 20 days since then. Currently, the machine aids 75% of her breathing and functioning.
“My earnings as a driver, is the only source of income. Rithika has never asked me for a single thing. She understands the family situation. As a family, we’ve never had enough money to go on a vacation. This summer however, we did. We went to Kerala. Her very 1st trip. She had the time of her life, laughing and dancing. I can’t help but think, what if it’s her last trip. I can’t....” Murugan, Father, blinked away his tears helplessly.
It has been 20 long days, Murugan still does not have the strength to see his daughter in this state
“She is the apple of our eye. We’ve always seen her smiling. Now, she’s in this state. Her father is devastated. He’s always been proud of her. It has been 20 long days, but he refuses to see his daughter in this state. This has been so tormenting for him that he fell extremely sick and was himself admitted in a hospital for 4 days.” – Santha Gowri, Mother.
Rithika needs the support of a ventilator for a few more days. There’s not a single relative or friend that they’ve not borrowed money from. Unfortunately, her parents have still not been able to gather the required funds to save their daughter.
She can be saved
"I haven’t been able to go to work for over a month now. The only source of income has frozen. Yet, we’re trying. Because, the doctors said she can be saved. I can’t live with myself if we were to lose her because of the lack of funds. It would be of help if you could contribute any amount. We’ll be grateful to you forever. Help us save our daughter.” -Murugan.
At 14, when she's just begun living, Rithika is fighting leukemia. Your generous contribution can help save her life.