“He hadn’t eaten anything in 2 days. Then he became pale and his stomach was swollen. We had to rush him to the hospital.”
October last year, Afnan Khan started looking very pale and his stomach swelled up. He hadn’t eaten anything for two days and his mother Nafeed couldn’t understand what was happening to her son. She and her husband Amjad took him to the hospital that night and were asked to come back in the morning. Next morning, suspecting he had cancer, the doctors advised them to go to a bigger hospital with better facilities. Amjad took Afnan to JIPMER in Puducherry, where the previous doctors' hints were confirmed. Afnan had cancer and would need an expensive bone-marrow transplant urgently to survive.
Afnan at a family function
Afnan thinks cancer is just a bad fever, he doesn’t understand the nature of his illness
“He asked me what cancer meant. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, how could I? No parent should ever have to explain such a thing to their child.”
At the hospital Afnan overheard the doctors say ‘cancer’ to his parents and became curious about it. Amjad tried explaining to his already ailing son, what his ailment was. But he didn’t have the heart to explain how grave his illness is and ended up telling him that cancer was just like any other fever, only a little more serious. Afnan only needed to stay in the hospital to get well again. Innocent little Afnan believed it and thinks he suffers from a bad fever. He thinks in a few days he’s going to be all right and be able to go back to school.
Little Afnan can’t stop thinking about going back to school
“He kept asking me why he’s not allowed to go to school anymore. I kept telling him that’s because he has a bad fever. Then one day, he gave up and stopped asking me. He doesn’t talk about school anymore, but I know he misses it.”
Afnan is a bubbly, active child, who loves going to school. After his diagnosis, his parents withdrew him from the school so his treatment could continue. For little Afnan, this was an unwelcome change. He misses school and can’t wait to go back. His elder sister Sabha and younger brother Ayan still go to school. Afnan waits all day so his siblings come back and he can play with them.
Amjad’s financial condition is the only hindrance in the way of Afnan’s treatmentAfnan is too young to understand the gravity of his illness and the outcome of not receiving treatment on time. For him, all that matters is his school and play. His parents are fighting tooth and nail for his life and trying to shelter Afnan from the bitter realities of Cancer. They even found out through tests that Amjad can be the donor for the bone marrow transplant. But the biggest roadblock here is their financial condition.
The family sleeps in a local mosque because they can't afford to rent a room
Amjad works as a seasonal labourer for whom work comes by only occasionally. When it does, he makes about Rs 300 a day, but most days are dry. For a man who can barely provide two square meals a day to his family, affording treatment for cancer is a herculean task. He and his wife stay in a local mosque in Puducherry to save money for their son's treatment.
How you can helpAll Amjad and Nafeed want, is for Afnan to get well again. They can’t wait for him to come back home and start living his life like any other normal 9-year-old. This dream can become a reality with your help. Your contribution can gift Afnan a second chance at life.
The specifics of this case have been verified by the medical team at the concerned hospital. For any clarification on the treatment or associated costs, contact the campaign organizer or the medical team.
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