For past 14 years, I have been taking him to the hospital every month for blood transfusions. That was the only affordable way to keep my son alive. Even if my husband or I were ill, we would make sure to go to work so that we can afford his treatment. We did not miss even one because that would cost his life. But a few days ago, he had a severe stomach ache and he couldn't move. When we rushed to the doctor, he told us that his condition is critical and needs an urgent transplant. He heard me talk to the doctors and found that his life is in danger. He looked at me with teary eyes and said 'Please don't let me die, I don't want to leave you Amma'. I couldn't help but cry out the burden that I was holding all these years." - Manjula.
The fatal disease that put Gnaneshwar on brink of deathAdireddy and Manjula were overjoyed when they were blessed with their second child. They were happy to see how their daughter and little son filled the house with their laughter. But when Gnaneshwar was 1-year-old, he suffered a high fever and was crying uncontrollably. The worried parents rushed him to the hospital. They were told that the child is suffering from a severe blood disease and require blood transfusions every month throughout the lifetime. The parents were determined to start and continue the treatment, no matter the circumstances.
Only a transplant can save Gnaneshwar from certain death15-year-old Gnaneshwar is suffering from sickle cell anemia, thalassemia with neurological sequelae. A life-threatening blood disease with less hemoglobin, it produces only fewer red blood cells in the body which will break down. While transfusions provide for the required hemoglobin, sometimes it’s side effects could be fatal. Because of regular blood transfusions, the iron content in his body has overloaded and has started to affect the liver. He urgently needs a bone marrow transplant, without which he will not survive.
Every joint in my son's body hurts him so much that he cries out loudly in pain. It doesn't allow him to do anything. He cannot sit or stand even for a few minutes, even sleeping in one position for a long time is difficult for him. He is so consumed by weakness at times that he is not even in a position to utter a word. It is unbearable to watch my young son battling every moment for his life like this." - Manjula.
Gnaneshwar's sister is a matching donor but his parents cannot afford the transplant.
"When our daughter noticed that his young brother is getting sicker day by day, we had no choice but to tell her the truth. She was devastated and volunteered to be the donor only to save her brother. But we have nothing left in our hands to afford the surgery. Even after selling our land and the house, we were not able to afford the blood transfusions that costed Rs 5000 a month. So we borrowed a huge sum of money from our relatives. We spent 30 lakhs until now. Now I am lost in every way to help our son survive." - Manjula.
Gnaneshwar with his father a few days ago.
Adireddy and Manjula are daily wage laborers who earn only Rs 350 a day together. Within this minimal amount, they were not only struggling to make the ends meet but also strived to manage the medical expenses. The parents are overwhelmed with the expenses of the surgery which will cost 37.5 lakhs and cannot afford the treatment that can save their son.