"My daughter, Zikra, has been a blessing to all of us. Her calmness and responsible nature is something that makes me proud of her. When I look at her, she just reminds me of a younger version of my wife, Tahera, always taking care of everyone around her. She is someone who always looks for the good in everything. But now I look at her, there is only a sense of fear in her eyes. At just 16 years of age, she is battling cancer,” - Abdul, father.
A swelling in her right ankle turned out to be far more dangerous that a bruise from a fall. Before anyone could understand, Zikra was in the clutches of deadly cancer.
The only valuable thing in my life are my daughters and now I can’t save Zikra
“We come from a small village in Shillong. I have always wanted daughters and when I got blessed with four of them, I was very happy. But ever since that X-ray, our lives have not been the same. Zikra knows I don’t have that kind of money to afford it, so now she just lives in constant fear. I wish I could just hug her and assure her that -’Beta, Abu will not let anything happen to you’ ,”- Abdul, father.
As soon as Abdul got to know about it being cancerous,he just took out every penny he had and from the first train came to Kolkata because he didn’t want to take even one percent of risk. On reaching Kolkata, the doctor told them that if they delay her surgery, they might even have to amputate her ankle. Abdul prayed that Zikra doesn’t hear this.
“Zikra is my ‘sukoon’ (peace) - when she is around us, I know everything will be alright. I have three more daughters but if you ask them one person they can’t live without - it will not be their Abu or Ammi but their Aapi, Zikra. She loves them not just like a sister but like a mother. She is always cooking for them or helping them with their studies.”- Tahera, mother
Zikra’s parents have spent nearly 4 lakhs already on her treatment but now she needs an urgent surgery. An estimate of Rs. 5.5 lakhs is what this surgery will cost and is the only way to cure Zikra’s cancer.
I wish I worked overtime....
“I did not know that even after saving money all my life, I will still fall short of funds to save Zikra. If I knew it, I would have not just worked as a shoe salesman but would have taken up two jobs working day in and out. Now with just a monthly income of Rs.10,000 and a family of 6 to feed how do I get Rs.5.5 lakhs more? I’m in Kolkata since July now, without a job or money left. My 3 daughters are at our hometown. I have are sleepless nights worrying about my family’s well being.”
It is not just my eldest daughter, Zikra, suffering from cancer, but we all are. It is taking away our today from us. Every second we live with a sense of panic.