“He has completely changed. His friends used to call all the time, but now they're all going to college. He doesn't talk to us, or to any of his friends. My son is swallowing all his fear. He tells me not to tell his mother all the details because she will cry." – Praveen's father Manjunath.
Going to college was Praveen's dream. But just before his it started, he fell sick. His hands and legs hurt painfully. To his parents' shock, he was diagnosed with blood cancer. Manjunath, an electrician, is distraught and is running from pillar to post trying to keep up his son's treatment.
Cancer has brought the family's life to a standstillPraveen is now too tired and in pain to even attend one class. His hands and legs hurt all the time and he is usually resting the whole day. But it is the change in Praveen's nature that has his parents most worried. Their once-happy teenage son is overwhelmed by his condition.
“He wanted to go to college so much. I told him to do a diploma like me. But he said he could become a doctor only by going to pre-university college. He was so excited – he kept talking about taking medical entrance exam. We got him admissions also, but he couldn't go.” –Manjunath.
These parents are finding it very hard to come to terms with Praveen's cancer
“We have to come to Bangalore from Davangere for treatment. It is expensive, so I take the cheapest bus and my wife and son come in the train. There is a concession for cancer patients. We have to leave our little daughter alone at home. I tell her to keep the TV on and go to sleep so she doesn't get scared.” – Manjunath.
Arranging for funds is getting hard for Manjunath every dayAs soon as it looked like something was seriously wrong, Manjunath got Praveen to Bangalore. But even before the treatment started, he ended up spending over Rs 1 lakh on checkups. Manjunath needs another Rs 15 lakhs to complete chemotherapy and bone-marrow transplant that Praveen needs.
“For a day's work, my employer pays me Rs 350 and I barely earned Rs 8,000-9,000. Whatever extra we had – we spent on our children's education. I never imagined that we would be in this situation. We are thinking all the time. We lie down and we fall asleep. If we wake up, we can't go back to sleep any more.” – Manjunath.