“Ever since she lost her vision, she has been crying uncontrollably. She flaps her hands in air, like she is trying to find a way out of darkness. She puts her head down and faints when she gets tired from doing this. It is unbearable to see my poor baby suffer like this.”-Farheen, mother.
Baby Fariha’s journey into darkness began when she developed white spots in her eyesOne day in December last year, when Farheen would call out to her daughter right in front of her, she would look elsewhere. Coupled with that, when her eyes starting appearing droopy, Farheen and Tanveer were worried. On inspection, they were shocked to find white spots in Fariha’s eyes, at the edge of each pupil. They took her to a doctor immediately, and after an MRI scan the poor baby girl was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, an aggressive and deadly type of cancer that begins in the retina. With great difficulty, Tanveer took his daughter to many hospitals and finally started her treatment in their own city, Mumbai. But sadly, she lost vision in both eyes soon.
An old family photo
“Our bubbly little angel turned into a very irritable baby overnight. She would not stop crying, and some fluid would drain from her eyes all the time. Her eyes looked red and bloody all the time due to incessant rubbing. Even sleep was elusive. She would wake up in the middle of the night and scream because of pain.”-Tanveer, father.
Farheen has to hold down her baby’s arms to forcefully feed her, feels that she is losing her with every passing dayFarheen had always wanted a baby girl. So when Fariha was born years after the birth of their first child, 7-year-old Muzzakir, she felt that her life was finally complete. But fate had cruel plans in stock for this unlucky mother. Her baby girl’s laughter used to brighten up her days, but now all that’s left are happy memories in this time of despair. Fariha does not feed well and Farheen is forced to hold her arms down to get some food in her mouth. Without help, Farheen is trying hard to take care of her sick daughter while also managing household responsibilities.
“I had taken care of Fariha so well, but still feel guilty and responsible for her suffering. When she is in distress, the first name she calls is ‘Ma’. She has not started speaking in full sentences so I am the only one who understands her cues. I am dependent on her as much as she is dependent on me. If I am to lose her, I fear I won’t be able to survive for much long as well.”-Farheen
Fariha needs surgery to remove her eyes within 1 year, but Tanveer is unable to keep her treatment goingDue to the aggressive and deadly nature of her cancer, Fariha needs to undergo surgery to remove her eyes within 1 year or risk losing her life. Tanveer, who works for a meagre salary in a private company knows that his daughter’s life is in danger but finds himself helpless at this moment. He has exhausted all the funds he borrowed from his mother-in-law and his friends. He even sold the only set of jewellery his wife had, but that is not enough to save his daughter.
The family, during happier times
“When I see Fariha playing with toys and listening to ‘duas’ (religious chants), I feel that she is just like any other normal baby for a fleeting moment. But then reality strikes me when I see her struggling to crawl, and bumping her head into things when she succeeds. Life has become a mixture of uncertainty and worry, but I have only one aim – to save my baby girl at any cost. Please help me.”-Tanveer, father.
How you can helpBaby Fariha has lost her vision in both eyes due to a rare and deadly form of cancer. She needs prolonged chemotherapy and surgery to remove both her eyes to stop the cancer from spreading. Her parents are struggling to save her and are desperately looking for a way to afford their daughter's life-saving treatment.
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