Despite The Criticisms She’s Faced, This Mother Continues To Fight To Save Her Daughter | Milaap

Despite The Criticisms She’s Faced, This Mother Continues To Fight To Save Her Daughter

Mala Nayak is carrying a heavy weight on her shoulders, and on days like these she often looks back upon times when all was well. She can’t help but feel miserable thinking about her once happy family. When her eyes land on her daughter, Sandhya, her tears fall and she sobs bitterly. Her 12-year-old is now only a shell of the person she once was, and Mala wishes with all her heart that she could turn back time.

Earlier this year, Sandhya was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells. Too poor to afford her treatment, her parents have been struggling to put together finances to foot her medical bills. Sandhya needs urgent chemotherapy and radiation to survive.

For weeks they hadn’t known what was wrong with her

12-year-old Sandhya was a jolly child, always in high spirits. If she wasn’t in school or sitting with her books in front of her, you would find her frolicking about with her friends. So when she came to her parents complaining of a severe body ache and feeling weak, they became concerned.

“I had never seen her that way before. I could tell she wasn’t feeling well at all. She was struggling to stand on her feet, and burning up with a fever. At first I thought it was only a slight temperature, and it would go down in a day or two, but it went on for days. That’s when our worry turned into fear. For about a month, we shuffled from one clinic to another, but none of the treatments prescribed seemed to be working. Finally, we took her to a visiting doctor from the city, who asked us to get some tests done, including a bone marrow test. When the results came back, we didn’t know what we were expecting, but I certainly didn’t think I would learn that my daughter had blood cancer.” - Mala, mother

She was reprimanded for spending money on her daughter’s treatment

Sandhya’s family hails from a village, some 90 kilometers away from Bhubaneswar where she’s currently being treated. Her father, Surendra Nayak, a daily wager, is the sole breadwinner of the family, whose earnings are only enough to get them by. Seeing their efforts to save their ailing child, Mala and Surendra have faced a lot of negativity and disapproval from relatives who think they’re only wasting time and money.

“Here I am trying to save my daughter, but my own relatives are telling me that cancer is fatal and no matter what I do, she is bound to die and leave us in debt. They keep insisting that she is a burden on my family, because we have spent all the money we had on Sandhya’s treatment. I've also faced harsh criticism for not thinking of saving up for my other two kids’ future. They don’t understand how dear she is to me. I don’t want to give up. I will do all I can to save her” 

She needs prolonged treatment to recover, but her family cannot afford it

The only way Sandhya can get better is through chemotherapy. Her parents have used up all the money that they had, sold their valuables and even borrowed from people so Sandhya could get the urgent chemotherapy that she needed. But just 3 cycles of treatment later, they are left with nothing. They need INR 10 lakhs to continue Sandhya’s treatment.

I don’t know what to do or who to turn to. My husband is back in our hometown trying to find a way to get the money we need for our daughter’s treatment. But he doesn’t know much about her condition because I’m scared that he will worry himself sick. I am trying to stay strong for Sandhya and for my family, but it is so difficult. I see how much she is struggling and I feel my heart breaking. She’s so young and has so much to live for; I cannot imagine my life without her. I can only hope that I will be able to save my daughter with your help. Please help me...

Mala and Surendra are in desperate need of your help to save their daughter from this life-threatening disease. Your contribution will go a long way. Click here to donate!
Patient Sandhya Nayak is 12 years old, living in Bhubaneswar, Odisha
Being treated in Sum Hospital, Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Receiving Chemotherapy treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

Click here to know more about Sandhya Nayak