"My cancer diagnosis was so unexpected. I was still struggling to accept it and worrying if we would be able to afford the treatment... when Sanithya started falling sick. Within a week we found out her liver disease was in end-stage, and that she’s dying too.
This same disease already took my elder daughter’s life just a few years ago! How much should one family suffer?! I don’t care about my own treatment anymore; I just want to save Sanithya’s life before I go. I want the poor girl to avoid meeting the same fate as her sister and her mother!" — Sheela, mother
They recognized the signs, they had seen them before
Just a week after Sheela was diagnosed with breast cancer, her daughter, 17-year-old Sanithya Raj, started falling sick as well. The weakness, the fever, the swollen stomach — all of it seemed too familiar; this emotionally battered family had seen these symptoms once before.
“When Sahitya, our elder daughter, died of liver disease a few years ago, doctors had us test Sanithya as well. That’s when we discovered she had the same disease, but they told us not to worry because it wasn’t advanced. They said medicines and regular check-ups would be enough. But after my diagnosis, when Sanithya’s fever started, and then her stomach started swelling... our worst fears were confirmed.”
She had to be hospitalized when she started vomiting blood
“Her condition worsened so rapidly. Within days she went from active and peppy to bedridden, her body aching so much she could barely move. We had seen Sahitya go through all this before losing her life, so we were already terrified, but then Sani started vomiting blood as well! She was immediately hospitalized, and tests revealed that her disease had gotten far more advanced than Sahitya’s ever was. Doctors have told us that only a liver transplant can save my daughter’s life now. But the cost!”
Sheela only has 1 week to save her daughter's life
After numerous tests and various medication plans, the truth is undeniable. Doctors have told this poor family that if Sanithya doesn’t get an emergency liver transplant by the end of September, the teenager will not survive. Sheela has taken this news extremely hard.
“I don’t care about myself anymore. I took a few rounds of chemo in the initial days after my diagnosis, but once Sanithya’s condition got really bad, I stopped. I don’t want to waste even one second with my daughter, nor one rupee on my own treatment. I just want to save my daughter’s life before I go.”
Her husband is a daily-wager, he can't afford to save them both
“Selvaraj is a coolie (daily-wager). The money he made was barely enough to support us, so I used to work as a social worker. Since I got cancer I haven’t been able to work at all, and he’s had no work since March due to the pandemic! How can we afford the 15 lakhs Sanithya needs? After my diagnosis we had borrowed money for my chemotherapy; we spent nearly all of it on keeping Sani alive instead. We've taken even more loans since then! If anything happens to her...”
Sanithya has her whole life ahead of her. After receiving great scores in her intermediate exams, she was applying for B. Com courses; she wanted to get a banking job and rescue her family from poverty. Now she’s lying on her deathbed, watching her mother sacrifice her own life because they can’t afford the treatment for them both.