"We are tired of hearing ‘Why are you even trying when you know she is going to die?’ I wonder what makes our relatives think that we are going to give up on our 3-year-old. Nasrin and I are not ready to accept that Jikra will slip away from us just because we're poor”- Vajir, Jikra’s father.
Parents didn't realize that their baby’s hardened belly was a sign of cancer3-year-old Jikra had occasionally complained of stomach ache after eating. Nasrin always thought it was Jikra’s tactic to deny eating what she didn’t like. Only 10 days ago, the parents saw that Jikra’s belly hardened like an egg shell.
“My baby was given medicines for intestinal worms which made her sicker. She had coughs and a persisting fever for 4 days. Even putting a wet cloth on her forehead for the entire night didn’t seem to work. We moved to a better hospital where reality hit us hard. Jikra has Neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that occurs in the nerve tissue.”
Jikra is scared of injections and medicines, she refuses to come to hospital everytimeJikra is too weak to even stand now. She cries all the time in pain and begs her ‘Abbu’ to ask the doctor not to pierce her with painful needles. Her persistent pain has made her so stubborn that it is difficult for the parents to make her do anything.
“Jikra is too small to even understand what is wrong with her and that she might not even live. It’s difficult explain to her why she needs to go to the hospital. We tell her she needs all of these to become a big grl. We can't bear to see her going through so much of pain.”
With a newborn at home and no income, it is difficult for Vajir to save JikraVajir and Nasrin also have a 3-month-old baby, Ifra, who has been deprived of all attention. Vajir has not been even able to take Ifra for immunization. He is running all the time from hospitals to money lenders to home just to find any hope to keep Jikra alive.
“I worked in other people’s farms in Tuljapur. On a good day, I manage to earn Rs 250 per day. For farmers, the monsoons are the most crucial time. Now I have to be by my baby and I can’t work. My baby is dying and I have no income. I don’t know if I will be able to save her.”
Vajir has already spent Rs 40,000 in just 10 days. His fellow villagers don’t want to help him because they think it’s useless to try for a child who will die anyway. Vajir fails to explain to them that without the necessary funds she will die. But if he can afford Jikra’s chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant she’ll have a normal life. There’s no family or friends or acquaintances that he can turn to for help.