"When other kids of her age were running and playing, she was finding it difficult to even to sit up straight. Her hands and legs were so weak that I was scared even to hold her up and make her walk. We took her to the hospital and doctors said that she has a disease in her blood. It’s been ten years since that and it looks like there is no end to the struggle." - Ranganathan, father
12-year-old Mathumitha has Thalassemia Major, a blood disorder where the body stops making required red blood cells. This condition makes her anaemic and the low haemoglobin levels hinder the oxygen supply to her body. Only blood transfusions every 20 days are keeping her alive.
She isn’t afraid of needles, all her life she has seen hundreds of them
Every month I save Rs.5000 and take a bus to Bangalore with my daughter to get her blood transfusion. If we miss even a day, she gets a fever and becomes weak and pale. This has been my routine for the past 10 years. You can look at her hand…there are hundreds of needle marks." - Ranganathan, Father
Ranganathan sells sarees in nearby villages on a cycle. He makes around 200 to 300 rupees per day and on other days he comes home empty-handed. He has a family of five and the money he makes isn’t sufficient enough to make ends meet. But in spite of that, he saves money and provides medical care to his sick daughter.
"She has already lost her childhood. I don’t want hospitals to be her second home. She has missed classes in her school, her friends don't even call her to play with them and now she cannot even eat her favourite food too." - Gautami
The treatment that keeps her alive may now damage her healthy organs
The blood transfusion comes with its own side effects. The sudden overload of iron may also lead to failure of organs like heart and liver. Not just that, her mouth is full of boils and she now has trouble swallowing. To regulate this iron overload, she is taking a Chelation Therapy which only adds more pain to her. The only cure is a bone marrow transplant and it costs nearly 18 lakhs - something Ranganathan can never afford.
"When they told me that there's a way for my daughter to stay alive without frequent transfusions, I was so happy. But when I heard how much it will cost…all my hopes came crashing down. Affording lakhs of rupees is impossible. All I have is my cycle. I don’t even own a house or land to sell. Where will I go and to whom will I beg now? I want her to have a normal life, free from misery but now it seems like a distant dream." - Ranganathan
This kid deserves a normal healthy life like everyone. Your kind contributions are the only way for her to walk thalassemia-free. A small contribution could bring a bigger change in this 12-year-old’s life.