“Geetha is now 18 kgs, scared and in severe pain. She cries herself to sleep and I hold her tight letting her know that she’ll be fine in no time. She tries her best to stay brave but even the sight of a needle scares her. Cancer has made her extreemly weak."
I have flesh on my left kidney, that’s why I have to get those painful injections,” says 8-year-old Geetha when anyone asks her how she is. Geetha needs chemotherapy and surgery to survive a growing tumor in her left kidney. Without which, the tumor will rapidly spread and deteriorate her condition beyond repair. As Mamatha holds Geetha and puts her frail body to sleep at night, she lays wide awake wondering how long she and her husband can keep her in the hospital and continue the treatment that will save her life.
The care-free joy of summer holidays soon turned into a nightmareOne month ago, Geetha returned from her school trip to Mysore happier than ever. Her school was officially closed for summer, and she was excited to play with her sisters, Nanditha (11) and Janavi (3). Mamatha noticed that her stomach was slightly swollen but Geetha didn’t complain of pain, as the days went by, the swelling only increased. Worried, Mamatha and Venkatesh took her to a local hospital.
“They told us it was a tumour on her left kidney and that it might spread completely if we didn’t start treatment immediately. The minute they said cancer I said I would do anything to save my daughter, I would beg and borrow, but we had to get her treated. My three girls are my life, I’m nothing if I lose them.”
Geetha has Wilms Tumour, a type of cancer that starts in the kidneys. The only way it can be cured is with chemotherapy and surgery, followed by radiation to ensure the tumor doesn’t grow back. Geetha has started chemotherapy and needs to continue treatment for the next 6 months to live a cancer-free life.
Geetha has a 90% chance of getting completely cured of cancer with treatment
“The only reason I’m able to stay brave is because the doctor says she has a 90% chance of getting cured. That’s the only reason I haven’t lost hope yet, but every day we’re spending more than my husband will ever make. We were able to start her chemotherapy only after borrowing 50,000. My Geetha needs the surgery at the earliest, but we have no way of getting 5 lakhs.”
Venkatesh is a daily wager who works in construction sites. After a long day of work, he rushes to the hospital with only Rs. 250 in his pocket, eager to see his sick child. So far, they’ve somehow managed to start her treatment, but affording the surgery is beyond their capacity.