This is Jyoti's last chance at fighting cancer and even if she has given up, her father Gullapa is determined to save her.
Jyoti's family thought that her cancer was an insect bite
“It was a normal night. I ate dinner and went to bed. The next morning I woke up, my left eye was swollen. Every one thought it was an insect bite. When it did not go away after a few days – we decided to go to the doctor. No one expected it to be what it was,” explains Jyoti.
Jyoti outside her house in Adavisomapura, a small village in Gadag, Karnataka
Despite fighting it for the last two years, Jyoti still hesitates to talk about her condition. For her, the word 'cancer' is taboo. To her, cancer has not only ravaged her face, but broken all her dreams and hopes for the future. She now stays at home, only leaving home to go to the hospital. Her cancer relapsed once and now she is scared to hope.
Jyoti's parents are broken and desperate to make sure their daughter gets treated. Jyoti's father Gullapa is a farmer and has already borrowed heavily and spent close to 5 lakhs on treatment. It looked like Jyoti had beaten cancer – but it came back after a few months. The relapse has shattered Jyoti's confidence that she will get better.
Jyoti's family is praying she gets better at the soonest
“She feels bad that we are under debt. We tell her that we will get her the treatment, but she has become very quiet these days. She doesn't tell any of us what she thinks. She keeps saying that we let her be in the village. We can't just abandon our child like that,” says Gulappa.
The family is scared to hope again after the first relapseJyoti completed her class 12 exams and has not gone back to even collect her marks card. She wanted to complete her studies and become a teacher. Despite the doctors counselling her and telling her that she will be all right – knowing that she has cancer has upset Jyoti.
Her relapse has further dashed Jyoti's hopes. Her swelling had gone down and she looked and felt normal. But it came back and now she needs chemotherapy, radiation and a bone-marrow transplant to get well. In the face of her family's poverty, she feels that it might be better for her to give up and go back home.
Jyoti dressed up for a family function before her cancer started
Gullapa's two daughters are his life and he refuses to give up on them. He is the only one in the family fighting to keep Jyoti's treatment going. He is still trying to borrow funds for his first child's treatment. But all his determination has not yielded any results so far.
Jyoti with her father Gullapa and mother Massavva
“I work on a family farm – and it keeps the family fed. I don't know how much my income is – I take a share of the grain we grow and that is how my family manages. Everyone at home is very emotional right now and are feeling defeated. But I can see very clearly that we shouldn't give up now,” Gullapa says.
How you can helpThe family put everything on treatment last year and they have nothing left now. Jyoti herself is very upset at not getting better and is now scared to even hope that things will get better. The doctors have given her a good chance of recovery if she takes treatment. The family just needs a little support.
Contribute and give this teenager hope to beat her terrible cancer and live a normal life.