“When they poke him with needles several times to find a vein to draw blood, he winces in pain, holding back his tears. He looks at me and I hold his hand, telling him that it’ll be over soon. My son has gone from being terrified of needles to thinking that this is ‘normal’. At the age of 7, he has spent more time in a hospital ward than a classroom." - Surendra, Father.
Every day, Surendra stands in front of the calendar plastered on his wall, counting the number of days left for his 7-year-old’s surgery. And every day, he sighs with disappointment. Mahir has two weeks to get a bone marrow transplant and finally be free from the pain of Thalassemia, but Surendra and Seema have nothing left to save him. Mahir is getting weaker by the day. His energy is depleting and the life from his eyes is slowly fading away.
Mahir started vomiting blood and bleeding uncontrollably from his nose because of transfusionsMahir was only an 8-month-old baby when his scared and nervous parents carried him from one hospital to another in a desperate attempt to find out what was making their newborn so sick. They were shocked to find out that their little one has Thalassemia, a deadly blood disorder that causes an excessive destruction of red blood cells causing severe anemia.
“Ever since he was baby, he’s had blood transfusions every 15 days. Two years ago, the iron build up was so much due to the transfusions, that his spleen got damaged. He started vomiting blood and bleeding profusely from his nose. He had surgery and immediately went back to the transfusions. Now, even that’s not enough to keep him going. He’s only going to get weaker and slip away from us without a bone marrow transplant.”
After postponing the transplant once, Mahir is now running out of time – he has only two weeks left for surgerySurendra works in a small photo frame shop in his village in Madhya Pradesh. Every day he leaves work and knocks on the doors of neighbors and relatives, desperately trying to find a way to afford Mahir’s treatment. Over the 7 years, they have spent nearly 3 lakhs on his medicines and blood transfusions. Surendra and Seema are now scrambling to find light in their life filled with darkness and despair.
“A year ago, I found out a transplant can save my son’s life and put him out of the misery that he’s been living with for 7 years now. I couldn’t afford the surgery then, and a year later, I still can’t afford it. In the past year, his condition has gone from bad to worse, and I can’t help but blame myself. Now he has 2 weeks to get the transplant and my pockets are emptier than ever.”