He keeps getting sicker and sicker, he’s so weak all the time now. When he coughs, I can see the pain in his eyes, the blood on his kerchief... I can tell that my son is dying.
He has cancer. I’m trying my best to save his life, but the cost...
In the past few months, he’s been hospitalized more than 30 times! I can’t afford it anymore!
— Saiful, father
In August of last year, Rakibul started developing some red patches on his skin. And then his parents noticed an abnormal swelling above one of his eyes. After they took him to a doctor, they got to know he has a disorder because of which his body can't produce enough blood cells. For months they tried to treat his blood disorder but it just wouldn't go away. And then, to the parents’ horror, the doctor did more tests and confirmed that young Rakibul now had Acute Myeloid Leukemia — blood cancer. The only way to cure him is to get him a course of chemotherapy, followed by a stem-cell transplant.
'We've tried so hard to get our son the treatment he needs'
"We took him to Chennai first and spent 3 lakhs there. But we couldn't sustain it financially and came to Kolkata. The more we learned about his cancer, and the treatment he required, the more we realized we might not be able to afford keeping our son alive! My husband started working at night as well, as a driver. But even these two jobs together weren’t enough! He sold a small piece of land we had, we sold our house, I sold all my jewellery but... 45 lakhs?! We can never put together such a large sum by ourselves!” — Sohela, mother
Rakibul is trying to stay positive, but he's afraid he may die11-year-old Rakibul has been trying hard to live each day as well, and to stay positive. Before all this, he was the topper among his 5th grade classmates. He genuinely believes his Ammi and Abbu love him so much that they will save him. But the pain is getting to be too much for him.
"Once when I woke up, I saw blood all over my pillow... my nose had started bleeding. I haven't been able to sleep after that... What if something happens to me in my sleep and I don't wake up tomorrow? When my chest hurts, I can't help but cry. I know Ammi and Abbu are trying to help me but this pain is unbearable..." — Rakibul
'I don’t know what to do anymore, he needs treatment urgently'
"I’ve borrowed so much money, but the bills are piling higher and higher. So far, though I wasn’t able to afford his full treatment, I was at least able to afford his regular hospitalizations and a few rounds of chemo, to give him some more time and to minimize the pain that he’s in. But now I’m completely out of money and can’t afford even that! If his treatment doesn’t start immediately, my wife and I are going to watch our son wither in front of our eyes! You have to help us, please...” — Saiful, father
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