6-Year-Old Is Unaware That Cancer Is Slowly Killing Him, | Milaap
6-Year-Old Is Unaware That Cancer Is Slowly Killing Him, Needs Help
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    from Kadapa, Andhra Pradesh

Santhosh, (6) is an energetic boy who is blissfully unaware of the fact that he is suffering from cancer. To keep him in the hospital, his parents have told him that he has 'bad blood' in his body that needs to be replaced with 'good blood'. Child specialists at the hospital had advised his mother on how to deal with tough questions from her cancer-ridden son like "What will happen to me?" "Will I die?" but to their surprise little Santhosh has said only positive things like, "Amma, you don't have to cook here, nurse aunty will give us food. You can be with me all the time". His laughter is contagious, and brings a smile on the faces of everybody around him, including the nurses and doctors. It is this ability of him to lift up the spirits of those around him gives strength to his parents to endure this painful journey.

Santhosh thinks he can go back home in a matter of days but the road to recovery is long and painful and his parents cannot afford it.

"I never thought it was possible for a child to go through that kind of pain"

Santhosh loves to play with his elder brother Nani (10) and his little sister Ammulu (5). It wasn't like him to not be in the mood to play at all times because his typical behavior included boundless enthusiasm and curiosity for everything around him. On that day, a month ago, suddenly Santhosh developed a high fever. it ran its course and ended, But then it returned again. He also complained of severe leg pain, saying "Amma, I can't bear the pain, I can't even stand”.  His mother Lurtha Mary thought it must be because of playing all the time, she had never seen any child squirm in pain like this before.  When she took him to a hospital in his village in Kadappa district, Andhra Pradesh, they asked her to take to a hospital in Chennai. She knew it was something serious but was not prepared to hear that C- word (cancer). Santhosh was diagnosed with Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia,(ALL) a form of cancer that can spread rapidly from the bone marrow to other parts. the bone marrow makes too many immature white blood cells and they do not mature correctly. The function of white blood cells is to fight infection, but white blood cells affected by cancer are unable to find and destroy viruses and bacteria.

"I still can't come in terms with it , he has always been active and energetic. I keep thinking what went wrong. We have never stepped out of our village, my son was happy coming to Chennai not knowing that his life is in danger. I don't have strength to tell him anything. I don't know how we are going to endure this." - Lurtha Mary, Mother.
Santhosh with his family, who lived a happy and modest life together despite their poverty

There is hope for the future

 Though it is a painful and scary battle for anyone to endure, let alone a child, ALL cancer has one of the highest cure rates.  Santhosh has completed 3 cycles of chemo and he showed courage and strength everyday. He has learnt to swallow medicines. He made it easy for everyone. He can successfully battle this deadly cancer if he continues the treatment. Platelets transfusions and chemotherapy can help him recover and live his life to the fullest.

"We are glad that there is a cure for it,  but I'm worried how long he can take this pain. In few days, he'll start losing his hair, he doesn't know that he has to stay away from his brother and sister for many more days. I'm praying to God to keep him happy and positive always. I can't imagine my son crying in pain all the day."

Ray of hope is clouded by financial struggle

Santhosh's father Baludu is a daily wage worker. He works in the farm and earns a meager amount of Rs 200 per day. His mother Lurtha Mary was also a daily wage worker but now she is with Santhosh in the hopsital, taking care of him. Baludu stayed with them in the hospital for a week and left back to his village to find some work. He is struggling all alone to arrange for funds. He has borrowed 1.5 lakh and spent it only on medicines. He needs 10 lakh which is beyond his means and he is afraid that he will fail his son, who is very hopeful that he will be back home soon.

How You Can Help

6-year-old Santhosh, a vibrant and cheerful child is battling cancer and this poor kid is not aware what it can do to him. Despite the pain in his body, he spreads only happiness and smile to everyone around him. The only cure for him to continue the chemo cycles. Unfortunately, his parents cannot afford it. Their income is not enough  even for 3 square meals. Only your help can save this boy.

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