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 futureThough 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."