Rishith is a 11-year old with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia – an aggressive blood cancer. To fight it, he has taken five cycles of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, his cancer is back and he needs an urgent bone-marrow transplant. His father Rajesh, an auto driver in Mangalore has spent over Rs 12 lakhs on his only child's treatment. He is desperate to arrange more funds and save his son's life.
Rishith with his parents
The cancer was caught when he came home complaining of pain in his tooth. It was a small boil that the dentist removed – suspecting an infection. But the bleeding and and pain persisted. A blood test gave the parents the dreaded diagnosis – Rishith had cancer.
Fighting cancer with courage and grace
Rishith's mother hesitates a bit as she describes Rishith before his illness. "He's very good at sports. He plays Kabaddi for school and goes swimming in the local pond with his friends. He is very good at math, but otherwise, he is a pokiri - always getting in trouble," she says. Today, Rishith is spent after five gruelling chemotherapy cycles from last June to mid-January. His energies are close to running out.
To help Rishith be brave, his parents didn't tell him he had cancer at first. But Rishith figured it out on his own and even tried to explain cancer to his parents. His doctors find him to be a confident and strong child who believes them with his whole heart when they tell him he will get better.
“The reason we are able to watch our only child go through such difficult disease and its treatment is because he is so strong. He never once complained or showed any reluctance for all five cycles of chemotherapy,” says his mother Sukanya.
His school friends miss his active, mischievous presence. Not only do they visit him often, they also put together some money to help with his treatment. He is especially missed in the school kabaddi matches where Rishith more than once saved the day.
The family in happier times
But this year, he decided not to visit his school on Sports' Day. He even tells his parents he wants to go a new school once he gets better because he wants a fresh start. He doesn't want to go back to school and be the object of too much sympathy.
Fear of not having money for treatment looms over the family
Following their son's example, Rishith's parents have discovered strength inside themselves as well. For the treatment, Sukanya sold off all her jewellery and her husband Rajesh works many hours over time trying to make money. Now their only asset is their auto – and the reason they haven't sold it too is that the treatment is not over yet.
“For the chemotherapy our friends and family lent us lakhs of rupees. Even his classmates from school put together some funds. How many times can we ask them for money? So now, I just ask them to pray that Rishith gets better and hope we find some help,” Sukanya says.
Let Rishith's courage and strength not be in vain. Help this family save Rishith. Click here to contribute.
The specifics of this case have been verified by the medical team at the concerned hospital. For any clarification on the treatment or associated costs, contact the campaign organiser.