"Hearing the doctor say that our son, that our two year old is dying... We were beyond heartbroken. We kept praying it was just a nightmare. But then... Then he told us it’s a genetic disease! That any child we have would suffer just like this!
This means Athreya is the first and last child we’ll ever have! If anything happens to him... we’ll never be parents again!"
— Anaswara, mother
When little Athreya developed a fever that wouldn’t let go, his worried parents took him to multiple local clinics to no avail. A week after it began, Amaljith, his father, was at work, and Anaswara was alone at home with the newborn, when the worst happened.
“One moment he was fine, and then suddenly his eyes rolled up and his arms and legs started shaking violently. It took me a moment to understand that my baby was having a seizure! I started panicking and called Amaljith. He rushed home, and we took him to a big hospital. On the way, Athreya had 3 more seizures, one after the other. I prayed and prayed that he’d get better, but... for a moment I thought he was dying.” — Anaswara
Even a minute’s delay could’ve killed him that day
“Doctors told us there was an infection in his brain that was killing him and admitted him into the ICU immediately. His condition was so bad, he was so weak, that he couldn’t even breathe on his own. He needed a special machine to breathe for him! And then, on top of that, he got pneumonia as well, pushing him even closer to death! We couldn’t understand why he was suffering like that, and neither could the doctors at first. It was only after they tested some fluid that they took from his spine with a syringe that we came to know he had some rare disease.” — Anaswara
His life has been hanging on by a thread ever since
Athreya has chronic granulomatous disease, an inherited immunodeficiency condition which increases the body’s susceptibility to infections. In his case, it’s in an extremely advanced state. The daily medication he’s on now works to reduce the more severe symptoms like painful rashes or wounds all over his body, uncontrollable itching, and extreme weakness, but this is all temporary. It avoids the problem instead of solving it. Athreya needs chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant to actually recover from his condition, but the cost is well-beyond the means of Amaljith.
'He’s my everything'
“I’m an electrician. I worked hard every day, even on weekends, so I could give my family a good life. But even in my worst nightmares I never thought my baby would be in such a state, that things would turn out like this! All my savings are gone. I’ve borrowed lakhs and lakhs of rupees already, just for his ICU stays and daily medicines. I don’t know what more I can do... I just want him to get better. He was my everything even before I knew we could never have another child. Please, help us...” — Amaljith