“Roju had come home for the holidays just the day before. He could never go back to school after the break. When he tried to get up, he began to shake and fall. His legs weakened and couldn't fully support him. His life changed in a day.” - says Pushpa, Roju's mother.
12-year-old Roju Paul studies in the 8th grade in a government school outside his village near Ongole, in Andhra Pradesh. He was a bright student, and had come back home for his summer break, with his elder siblings. The very next day he woke up with a high fever. His family suspected it to be a heat stroke and gave him some over the counter medication. But by the evening he had begun to slowly lose movement in his legs.
When Roju's condition deteriorated, his poor parents rushed him to Hyderabad but couldn't find help thereHis parents, Yesudas and Pushpa, rushed him to the doctor in their village. He quickly realised it was a serious issue and sent them to the government hospital in Ongole. There, the doctors initially ran tests for malaria, but the reports came negative. They prescribed medicines for fever and sent him to Hyderabad for further treatment. There the hospitals were too expensive for Roju’s family and his condition was constantly getting worse. By the next day, he had completely lost movement in his legs, they were feeling numb and lifeless, and Roju was getting increasingly scared of becoming paralysed.
Finally it was in Guntur that he was diagnosed with acute blood cancer, but had to be moved to a better hospital in Vijayawada soonNot willing to take anymore chances with this health, they rushed him to Guntur. At Guntur , their consulting doctor suspected leukemia for the first time and told them that their hospital is not equipped to take care of him, she advised them to immediately take him to Manipal hospital in Vijayawada, where there were enough facilities to evaluate his condition and give him proper medical aid.
“When the doctors told us that it could be cancer, we panicked. We didn't know what to do. We immediately called our relatives and asked someone to meet us at the Manipal hospital. His cousin Raghava came there with some money, and stayed back to help us. By then Roju was admitted and tests were being conducted to diagnose his condition.” - Pushpa
They haven't told Roju and his siblings that he has blood cancerRoju was diagnosed with leukemia at Manipal, confirming his parents’ worst fears. They were afraid that their children might get too scared and breakdown by hearing of cancer. Roju’s siblings - Yamini and Lukapal think their brother is admitted to the hospital for a blood infection. They visited him in the hospital once before they left for the hostel after the break. Roju himself thinks he is being treated for paralysis and cannot walk again, since he had lost movement in his legs initially.
Though he is able to walk with aid now, he still needs prolonged treatment to get cured of cancerAt Manipal, without wasting further time, his treatment started. He has undergone 6 sessions of chemotherapy so far and needs to be under treatment in order to be completely cured of cancer. He has even started walking again with the help of a walker and with support from his parents. Sadly his parents can’t afford the expensive treatment anymore and without the chemotherapy sessions, Roju will succumb to his condition.
Roju's father is a farm labourer and earns only Rs 2000 a monthSo far towards Roju’s treatment, his family has spent over Rs 3 lakhs. Yesudas works as a farm labourer with a monthly income of about Rs 1500-2000. Within that income they have to pay for their food, their children’s school fees and other household expenses. They borrowed money from their friends and relatives to pay for Roju’s treatment, but now even that money has run out and they don’t have any means to afford further treatment.
How you can helpRoju has a high chance of survival if he gets prolonged chemotherapy. He doesn’t deserve to die an untimely death due to his parents’ poor financial condition. Only your help can get him to recover and every contribution will make a difference between life and death for Roju.
Your support can help Roju from blood cancer
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 organizer or the medical team.
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