“In just a day, his cough turned into a severe stomach ache, and before we knew it, he was laying on his bed, holding his chest and struggling to breathe. The liquid was drained from his lungs and heart. We thought he would get better with this, but two days later, they told us that our son didn’t have a heart problem, but a growing tumour between his heart and lungs and blood cancer. Now, only chemotherapy can ensure that the tumour doesn’t grow and kill him. ” - Ravi Kumar, Mani Ram's father.
Every morning, the first thing little Mani Ram does is ask his parents whether this is his last day in the hospital. “How many more days, Appa?” he asks, eager for the answer he’s been waiting to hear for a month now. While Ravi Kumar and Santoshi assure him that it’s only for a few more days, they both know that he has a monumental battle ahead of him. Mani Ram has blood cancer which will spread quickly without urgent treatment. As he lays exhausted on his mother’s lap, all his parents can do is pray that he is saved from cancer.
Mani’s cancer was detected in time, but he can only be saved with chemotherapyMani’s tumor and blood cancer were diagnosed one month ago. As devasted as they were, Ravi and Santoshi wasted no time in starting his treatment. They borrowed money from friends and family and managed to start his chemotherapy. The tragic end of cancer loomed over them like a dark cloud, but they have hope – his cancer was diagnosed just in time. But, Mani can only be saved with intensive chemotherapy for the next 1 month.
“He was in the ICU on ventilator support for two days before we found out about his cancer. My wife couldn’t believe what the doctor had just told us. The news was more than she could handle, the stress was overwhelming. She was hospitalized for a few days because of extremely low blood pressure. All through, I kept telling her that we must stay strong for our Manu. All we want is to save our son from this terrible disease. Manu has bravely endured all the medicines and injections. If we're forced to stop treatment, we will lose our son forever."
His parents have done everything to save him, but now they’re struggling
“The only thing I think about now is if I can afford next month’s chemotherapy. We’ve spent nearly 7 lakh on his treatment so far, I don’t know how we can afford to complete his treatment. I keep telling him he’ll be healthy again in no time, but sometimes I’m scared that I’ll be the reason for losing him. I have to stay strong for my family, but I’m helpless now.”
Ravi works as a part of the ground handling staff at the airport in Hyderabad. He earns 16,000 per month, and after spending lakhs on Mani’s treatment already, he doesn’t have the means to afford 15 lakhs. Santoshi occasionally sells sarees in her neighborhood and earns a meager amount, but she’s trying to save every rupee for her cancer-ridden son. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, Ravi and Santoshi find themselves at a dead-end.