Shivanath with Puthul at the hospital in Bangalore
“All the money I brought from home is over now”Puthul complained of pain in her right eye this July. Shivanath went to the dispensary in his village as well as the hospital in Kishanganj. Both times, he got eye drops for Puthul. The medicine didn't work and Puthul's eyes started swelling. Shivanath decided to go to Siliguri, West Bengal.
“At Siliguri, the doctor said it cancer and asked us to go to Bangalore. We were ready to leave right then. Unfortunately, our village and our home was flooded. We lived at a school for weeks. Puthul's treatment was delayed by a whole month because of floods. We could only get to Bangalore in October,” he explains.
Puthul's cancer has damaged her right eye. If untreated it will take her second eye as well as her life.
By the time Puthul got to Bangalore her condition had worsened. Neuroblastoma is a fast-growing cancer and it had totally destroyed her right eye. By September, a scared Puthul complained to her parents that she couldn't see. They could do nothing but wait for the situation in their village to get better.
Now, what is left of Puthul's swollen eye often bleeds. She has a heavy bandage on her eye which needs to be changed once in two days. Sometimes, it needs to be changed more frequently if there is excessive bleeding. But the worst of it is that her second eye seems to be getting affected too.
“I have not faced so many difficulties and come this far from home to give up on Puthul's treatment”Shivanath is in Bangalore with his wife, their 1-month-old daughter and Puthul. He has left his 2-year-old son Kartik back in the village with his parents. He has spent everything he has and has nothing left for even food. His brother borrows money from people back home and sends it to Shivanath for sustenance.
The Rs 10,000 they brought from home is long gone and they are over 1 lakh in debt because of the treatment. But Shivanath is adamant that his daughter gets treatment. The possibility of letting her succumb to her cancer is something he refuses to think about.
Puthul in her village before she got cancer
“Puthul used to be a happy child. She played the whole day with her brother. Active, but never naughty. Ate whatever was made at home. Now, she cries all the time because she is in so much pain. Whatever needs to be done – I can do to save her life,” he says.
Shivanath works as an agricultural laborer in Bihar and earns Rs 4,000 per month. With the recent floods, no one is giving him any work because all the crop near his village is ruined. Getting Puthul treated is the mission that keeps him going in the face of these terrible odds.
How you can helpThrough his difficulties, Shivanath held on to the belief that if he could only get to Bangalore – his daughter would get better. But he finds himself penniless and hopeless to treat his child. After all his struggles, he might still lose his child to cancer if he does not find a way to treat her.
Contribute to save Puthul from cancer.