27-month-old Baby Harshit was an active, happy and playful child. He had never fallen sick in two years until a high fever dampened his cheer and put him on the hospital bed. The parents of this toddler received the biggest shock of their lives when they heard that their perfect little boy has a high-risk Stage IV cancer and needs a bone marrow transplant for any chance at survival.
It was no normal fever
Until just a month ago, Harshit was the light and life of the house. He was not a child you would call quiet. He would laugh, talk, play all day long, run around the house and throw around his mischievousness for everyone to love him even more. It was always difficult to get Harshit to sleep. On November 12th, he played as usual and went for a nap. He woke up with a high temperature.
“This wasn’t like any normal fever. It was around 103 degrees. We were extremely worried.”
Shatiya Moorthy and Sudha rushed their son to the nearby clinic. The doctor prescribed medicines and assured them that the fever will subside in 3 days. If it didn’t they would have to test his blood. 5 days later, Harshit’s fever held strong.
“The minute the fever hit, his entire demeanor changed. He would not get off the bed even for an hour. He never used to cry before, never used to sleep either. He was so tired and sleeping so much that we had to pull him off the bed for two or three hours to feed him or make him drink water.”
The sudden onset of cancer
Anxious about Harshit’s condition, Shatiya went back to the doctor who suggested they get him hospitalized and try giving the medicines intravenously. When the doctors observed that Harshit was not responding to the IV meds and had even stopped taking food, they suspected he might have a problem in his abdomen. A scan revealed there was a mass on the kidney.
“We finally consulted Dr. Julius at Ramachandra. CT and biopsy finally told us that he had a Neuroblastoma, that too Stage IV. They said this a high-risk category, and it had spread to his skull and T4. They even sent for a gene test in a Bangalore lab. That came back positive. We were lost for words. He was so normal. There was no sign or symptom. He never had a cold or fever ever since he was born, and suddenly we hear that he has something that is killing him.”
The parents suffer when their child suffer
The mass is inoperable, and Harshit’s only treatment option includes a few rounds of chemotherapy, followed by tests to determine if he is ready for a curative bone marrow transplant. His fragile body is fighting to bear the harsh chemo, and constantly needs transfusions.
“He doesn’t know how to tell us when something is hurting him. Harshit feels so uncomfortable in the hospital attached to so many lines. He became completely dull for the first time in his life. Now, with the chemo, we can tell he is getting a little better because he is trying to be like before the fever. We see those eyes brighten a few times a day, but we can tell it is taking a huge toll on him.”
Harshit feels extremely anxious at the sight of a doctor or a nurse with the fear of being poked and prodded. He finds solace in playing with his sister who sits by his bedside every now and then. These parents are completely heartbroken seeing their ever playful and hyperactive child forced to be in bed suffering from a killer disease.
How can I help?This is a high-risk malignancy and needs aggressive treatment that includes chemotherapy, surgery, and bone marrow transplant followed by radiotherapy.
The estimated costs for the treatment alone is Rs. 15 lakhs. Shatiya works for a software company as a software tester. He has spent all his savings on the treatment, hospital charges, and medicines so far. Right now the family is struggling to keep up with the medical expenses in addition to the emotional trauma of seeing their young son slowly succumbing to the worst disease.
“My company gives mediclaim for five people. It covered my parents, wife and my daughter. Later when my son was born, it did not even occur to me to opt for insurance immediately. He was the picture of health. The only reason we visited a doctor after his birth was to get a vaccination. And now this happened!” says the father in despair.
Shatiya, Sudha and their daughter request for your help to save Harshit. They are holding on to every bit of hope for his recovery.
Your contribution will gift him a healthy life and pull him from death’s deep end.