Jothisha is a 6-year-old with stage 4 cancer in her kidneys. The cancer has spread to her lungs and she needs urgent treatment to survive. Her family lives in Thiruvannamalai and her parents work as daily-wage workers. They don't fully understand cancer, but they are determined to save Jothisha.
A stomach pain that turned out to be cancer
Since January, Jothisha has been complaining of stomach pain on and off. Her father Senthil applied oil and pain-relief creams on her stomach thinking that she just had digestive problems. It was just a stomach pain,after all – what could possibly be the problem?
Jothisha has already started chemotherapy. Her family needs funds for the full treatment
But last month, the pain in her stomach became intolerable. Days went by and it simply did not abate.
Parimala, Jothisha's mother works as domestic help at a doctor's house. She decided to ask the doctor what could be wrong. The doctor told Parimala to get an immediate scan to find out what was wrong.
The scan showed a big lump in Jothisha's right kidney. Further evaluation showed that the tumour was malignant and was growing. It had spread to both her lungs. Without anyone knowing, Jothisha's cancer had reached stage 4 – the last but one stage of cancer. She needs urgent treatment through chemotherapy, radiotherapy and possibly surgery.
The doctors first suspected Jothisha had kidney stones
“When she first heard the doctor say Jothisha might have kidney stones, her mother just began crying. She called me and our mother and only cried for two days,” said Bharathi, Parimala's sister. Bharathi is a teacher in Chennai and at present Jothisha and her mother stay with her for treatment.
Jothisha with her parents. Her father Senthil is able to visit them in Chennai only once a week
Her hair is falling out and she knows something is happening to her
Jothisha herself is a active, intelligent 6-year-old. She has been told that she has kidney stones, but she is smart enough to know that she has a more serious problem.
Every time they visit the doctor, she asks the doctor what exactly is the problem with her. She is aware that she is not being told everything.
Because everyone tells her, she is being brave and taking all her medicines. The chemotherapy has started and she is taking all its side effects in her stride. “Her hair is falling out and she has no appetite left. But because we tell her she has to eat to get better she tries to eat some food,” explains Bharathi.
Parimala is heartbroken that they didn't seek medical help sooner. The thought of losing her sweet, happy daughter is making her distraught. She is entirely relying on her sister for comfort and strength.
How you can help
Despite the cancer being so advanced, her reports show that Jothisha has a good chance of getting better – but only if her treatment continues. Senthil has stayed back in Thiruvannamalai to earn as much as he can, but it is nowhere close to enough. He is only able to make about 5,000-6,000 per month.
The family needs support saving Jothisha from a cancer that is spreading fast.
Make a contribution to help Senthil and Parimala save their daughter.