Rutuja and her family live in Goa. Rutuja's father, Ramakrishna works as an accountant. The family also manages a small Kirana shop to support Rituja and her brother, Bhaskar's education. Rutuja loves the beaches in her place. She loves chasing the crabs and burying her feet in the sand when the waves hit her feet. Her family was doing well with whatever they made and they were happy to have each other.
News of Rutuja's cancer came as a shock to the family and they are now desperately struggling to save their daughter's life.
The poor parents took her to a hospital, 600 kilometers away to diagnose her condition When Rutuja was down with a fever for almost a week, Ranjana and Ramakrishna took her to the local doctors. But even after 10 days, the medicines didn't seem to work and there was no diagnosis. Seeing her condition deteriorating, doctors recommended taking Ranjana to a better hospital in Mumbai. After several tests, they were told that their little daughter has Acute Myeloid Leukemia, a dangerous form of blood cancer with rapid growth of abnormal cells that build up in the bone marrow and blood.
“The last time I had seen her laugh happily was in the month of June. She had gone to school in a color dress because it was her birthday. Soon after that, she fell so sick. Within a week, she was down with 104 degrees of fever and we had to take her to the hospital. Ranjana, 9-year-old Rutuja’s mother.
Doctors put Rutuja on chemotherapy to be cancer-free. The little girl fought well for 5 months. Whenever she felt sad, her brother reminded her about the beaches near their house. She longed to go home and play at the beach.
“Rutuja has always been very close to her brother, Bhaskar. Sometimes, just to see his sister smile, he skips college and secretly brings her chocolates. Bhaskar is the one who gives his sister the strength to keep fighting.”- Ranjana, mother.
Despite 5 months of struggle, Rutuja is not free from cancerWhen her mother, Ranjana told her that she is going home after 5 months of treatment at the hospital, poor Rutuja thought she is all fine and going home. Rutuja didn't know that she is going home only to return to the hospital frequently for her chemotherapy. Even at home, she feels like she is in the cancer ward. She still can't feel the waves hit her feet. The beach looks far away through her window and so does her dreams of going out to play.
Rutuja before cancer