“Roju had come home for the holidays just the day before. He could never go back to school after the break. When he tried to get up, he began to shake and fall. His legs weakened and couldn't fully support him. His life changed in a day.” - says Pushpa, Roju's mother.
12-year-old Roju Paul studies in the 8th grade in a government school outside his village near Ongole, in Andhra Pradesh. He was a bright student, and had come back home for his summer break, with his elder siblings. The very next day he woke up with a high fever. His family suspected it to be a heat stroke and gave him some over the counter medication. But by the evening he had begun to slowly lose movement in his legs.
When Roju's condition deteriorated, his poor parents rushed him to Hyderabad but couldn't find help thereHis parents, Yesudas and Pushpa, rushed him to the doctor in their village. He quickly realised it was a serious issue and sent them to the government hospital in Ongole. There, the doctors initially ran tests for malaria, but the reports came negative. They prescribed medicines for fever and sent him to Hyderabad for further treatment. There the hospitals were too expensive for Roju’s family and his condition was constantly getting worse. By the next day, he had completely lost movement in his legs, they were feeling numb and lifeless, and Roju was getting increasingly scared of becoming paralysed.
Finally it was in Guntur that he was diagnosed with acute blood cancer, but had to be moved to a better hospital in Vijayawada soonNot willing to take anymore chances with this health, they rushed him to Guntur. At Guntur , their consulting doctor suspected leukemia for the first time and told them that their hospital is not equipped to take care of him, she advised them to immediately take him to Manipal hospital in Vijayawada, where there were enough facilities to evaluate his condition and give him proper medical aid.
“When the doctors told us that it could be cancer, we panicked. We didn't know what to do. We immediately called our relatives and asked someone to meet us at the Manipal hospital. His cousin Raghava came there with some money, and stayed back to help us. By then Roju was admitted and tests were being conducted to diagnose his condition.” - Pushpa