"When I wake up in the morning nowadays, my first thought is almost always something like: ‘Will my daughter make it through one more day?’. And then I wonder if my family will. Times are such that I’m struggling to just feed my family once a day now. My wife and I sometimes go hungry, so our children can eat.
So how will I afford my daughter’s transplant?! I’m watching her die in front of my eyes and I’m unable to do anything about it!"
— Zaheer, father
Little Meera was just 5 months old when her parents realized something wasn’t right. She stopped feeding normally, and seemed weak all the time. Then she developed a fever that wouldn’t go away.
“We took her to a local hospital, and they asked us to admit her! At first we tried not to worry too much but, as the days went by, we got more and more scared and confused. 15 days later she was still in the hospital! She had a lot of tests done during that time, and we kept praying it wouldn't be something big. But... it was even worse than we thought. They said she has some disease that could kill her!” — Shahista, mother
Little Meera was diagnosed with Thalassemia Major, a blood disease
Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that causes your body to have less hemoglobin than normal, the molecule that enables red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout your body.
“Having thalassemia is like being in a constant state of near-suffocation. We all struggle to hold our breath for even 30 seconds... My daughter has had to live like that every single waking moment!”
Blood transfusions help reduce this horrible effect, and so Zaheer has gotten his daughter one transfusion every three to four weeks for the past 4 years — more than 70 transfusions! At best this is a temporary measure, only delaying the inevitable. At worst it’s poisonous in the long-term; copper-poisoning, a common side-effect, could kill her before her thalassemia does. The only way to actually survive is for little Meera to get a bone marrow transplant.
Only a bone marrow transplant can save her but her dad can't afford it
“Getting our daughter a transfusion every month was hard by itself, and she also needed tablets every day on top of that. Zaheer is just a daily-wager; on a good day he can earn maybe Rs. 200, but too often he comes home empty-handed, and we pray the next day will be a better day. After the pandemic hit, though... we’re in a worse state financially than we have ever been, and Meera’s condition is just getting worse. Only a bone marrow transplant can cure her now, but the cost! I can’t afford it!