“When he moves his right leg even slightly, I can see his expression change– he flinches in pain and tears form in his eyes, but when he sees me looking at him, he smiles. ‘No pain, Nanna…it’s just a stinging feeling, it's because of the infection right? It will be okay soon, you go have food. How long will you go without sleeping or eating?’ he says. But then I catch him crying quietly in the room when he thinks no one is watching. He knows he has cancer, but he is in denial.”-Balraj, father of Hemanth Kumar.
‘He knows very well that it's not a small fracture or infection’Last October, Hemanth and his family were attending the naming ceremony of a close relative’s child when he lost balance and fell down suddenly. His leg was badly bruised and he was immediately rushed to a hospital near his hometown of Kothur in Andhra Pradesh. Doctors first suspected a fracture because of swelling, but an MRI scan gave a deadly diagnosis: Hemanth has osteosarcoma, a deadly form of bone cancer in his right leg. He had to undergo a surgery immediately to remove the mass, but his parents told the unsuspecting teenager that he just had a bad fracture. But over time, they understood that he had come to learn the truth.
Hemath, before undergoing the surgery
“For a long time, he believed us when we told him he had an infection surrounding the fractured portion of his leg, and it would take time to heal. But when he started losing hair and weight rapidly, he began reading up on the internet. We know that he understands his condition now, but he’s never discussed anything with us. He also keeps reassuring us that it’s just an infection."-Navabharti, mother.
Along with his grades, Hemanth also aced a unique sport – now it’s all in the pastA 9th grade student, Hemanth worshipped studies. He has always been a top ranker in class. When he did not have a book in hand, he would be training for a unique sport called Tchoukball, a game akin to handball. He has been a district-level player in the same game, that’s how good he was. But now, he can’t walk, let alone play.
“He asks me every now and then if he will be able to be his normal old self and be able to go back to school again. I lie to him then – I say that he can go back in a few months, when the truth is I don’t even know if I can save his life for that to happen,”-Balraj
This unemployed father was forced to bring his critically ill child home due to a dire lack of fundsBalraj used to work as an English teacher at Krishnagiri Talent School, a private parallel college in his hometown. The sole breadwinner of the family, he just earned enough to cover his family’s basic needs. But from the past five months (ever since Hemanth was diagnosed), he has not been able to go to work. He had taken a loan of more than Rs 6 lakhs for Hemanth’s treatment, but all that is exhausted now. With no money in hand, Balraj was forced to take his ailing child home.
“I am desperately scrambling for funds right now. My relatives have helped as much as possible. They are giving us food now, lest we starve to death. That’s all they can do. My son is very critical, Please help me,”-Balraj
How you can helpDespite undergoing surgery as soon as he was diagnosed, Hemanth is still not out of danger. Without prolonged chemotherapy, there is more than 50% chance that his cancer would spread. His child has been keeping a strong front in the midst of his parents, but he is as scared as them. He fears death. With your help, he can go back to school and become an ace Tchoukball player.
You can help this child bounce back to life with your kind contribution