She has high-risk cancer that can rapidly spread to other body parts without an urgent bone marrow transplantOne day, when Swathi was in her school, she started to bleed from her nose. She wiped it off and didn't take it seriously. When her nose started to bleed the next day also, she told her parents. They took her to ENT doctor and she was given tablets. The bleeding did not subside even after a week, it was then they took her to a bigger hospital. Scan reports revealed that she has refractory myeloid leukaemia, a form of cancer that starts in the bone marrow but it quickly moves into the blood and can spread to other parts of the body. It is refractory because it did not respond to the initial treatment, and needs more treatment to reach complete remission. Therefore, she needs chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant as well to recover completely.
"Within a few days after the diagnosis,she became very weak. She is not able to even get up from the bed. She is not able to eat anything, all she has for a day is a glass of milk. Initially, she was asking us so many questions, she wanted to go back to school but now she has lost all her energy. She keeps tossing in pain and hardly has a good night's sleep. I fear that this disease might take her away from us before we can help her." - Jayanthi, Mother.
Swathi before the diagnosis
Poor parents are struggling to keep their children away from this terrible newsSwathi's parents have told her that she has an infection in her blood and would require treatment for it. She has an elder sister Sharmila (17) and younger brother Srijith(7). Her sister is in 12th grade preparing for her board exams. Her parents could not find the courage to tell their children about the deadly disease. Now, while her mother takes care of her in the hospital, her father manages to take care of his other children. Their lives have just turned upside down and they live in the constant fear of losing their daughter.
"I never imagined that we would face such a situation. I don't know how long I can keep the news away from her. She has a long way to go. In these 2 months in the hospital, I've seen parents crying at the loss of their child, some parents taking them home healthy and happy, I do not know what my fate is. She deserves a life and I'm longing to see her getting normal and playing Volleyball again." - Jayanthi.
The life-saving transplant is beyond this poor farmer's meansSwathi's father Karthikeyan is a farmer and has no stable income. There are months where he doesn't get any income and during those times, he does odd jobs to feed his family. Despite his poverty, he was determined to support his children by all means. He has never said 'no' to any of her tournaments, even when he did not have enough money. He was hopeful that she would be successful and happy in her life. Her sudden diagnosis is a big blow to him.
"I'm borrowing money from everyone I know but nothing is enough for her treatment. I do not have anything to sell. Her treatment costs 30 lakh and I dread at the very thought of it. Doctors said she needs bone marrow transplant at the earliest. It is in painful to see her suffering every minute and it is terrible that I can't do anything about it.' - Karthikeyan.