Surbhi Ben was known as a chirpy, joyful and bubbly girl with an optimistic outlook in her neighbourhood. But time was running out for this 15-year-old, who had spent most of her life grappling with a rugby ball-sized tumour on her neck that was inching towards her heart, and posing a threat to her life.
According to doctors, Surbhi suffered from cystic hygroma, a lymphatic malformation that generally affects the area around the neck or the head. But born into a family of farm labourers who struggled to make ends meet, Surbhi was looking at a bleak future as her father could not afford her expensive treatment.
However, her family did not give up on hope. They believed if Surbhi was taken to qualified doctors and a better medical facility, she could get the necessary treatment.
Starting out as small lumps, they soon ballooned into a giant tumourSurbhi was still a toddler when her parents first noticed lumps around her face that eventually engulfed her neck. They grew concerned as the tumour started growing, and approached several local doctors over the years - but in vain.
"I was unable to go anywhere because of the tumour, and I was forced to drop out of school after a while becaue it started becoming difficult for me to look down for a long time while studying or writing. I felt bad when I used to see my friends going to school as usual, while I was confined to my house. I didn’t know how to realise my dream of being a teacher because I couldn’t continue my studies. I felt so helpless and frustrated at the time. But I couldn't give up. I didn't want to.” - Surbhi
"Whenever I used to go out, I had to cover myself. Like other teenage girls, I also wished to dress up and wear pretty dresses. But I could not wear normal clothes because of this tumour." - Surbhi
“Even doing household chores resulted in her experiencing breathlessness and severe body pain. She could barely eat food and drink water properly because of the growth in her neck. When feeling a little low, she would often ask me: 'Why am I the one that’s always suffering?' It would break my heart to hear her say that." - Rekha, mother
Her father worked two jobs, but it was still not enough to fund her treatmentDoctors confirmed that there were three tumours present in her throat and they were intertwined with the nerves of the neck, which made the surgery complicated. On the other hand, medications didn't work on Surbhi. The treatment she actually needed consisted of surgeries and injection sclerotherapy, but the family was unable to afford it due to financial constraints
“I was failing to arrange the large sum that her treatment would require. Even if I were to sell my house or any small valuables that we had to our name, I knew we still wouldn’t have had enough. So, I started doing two jobs, in the hope that I could gather enough funds to start her treatment. But it was no use. Being the sole breadwinner of a family of nine, whatever little I earned was barely enough to feed the family.” - Purshottam Samatbhai, father
At long last, you reignited their hopes and gave Surbhi a new lease on lifeUnable to see their daughter succumbing to a slow death for the paucity of funds, the family went to great lengths to arrange funds for Surbhi’s treatment. Their relentless efforts paid off, when you came to her aid just in time, and saved Surbhi from this crippling tumour that had wreaked havoc on her life.
In a highly sophisticated surgery that lasted 3 days, a dedicated medical team of 21 doctors and surgeons worked tirelessly to remove the large neck tumour. Surbhi underwent 2 months of rigorous radiotherapy prior to undergoing the procedure and extensive reconstruction surgery. Since the surgeries, Surbhi’s wounds have healed and she is well into recovery. Today, Surbhi has her life back on track and is pursuing her studies to fulfil her dream of becoming a teacher - and this is all because of you!
"We are seeing a new side to our Surbhi now. She is more cheerful, beautiful and bold than before, and its thanks to all of you who donated towards her life-changing treatment. The kindness you have shown her, a complete stranger, has reinstated my faith in humanity. She is now leading a normal life, happily riding her bicycle, playing with her friends and pursuing her studies. She is focusing on her dreams, without the added scrutiny and harsh remarks from onlookers." - Rekha
Surbhi’s parents were fortunate that their prayers were answered right in time, and that your help arrived before something bad could happen to their little angel. But the bitter truth is that many children affected with rare disorders do not receive the same help. Millions of innocent kids suffer from cruel symptoms such as underdevelopment, weakness, localised pain, etc, due to which their life becomes a living nightmare.
If these little ones do not get treated within a specific period of time, the quality of life suffers, and eventually they face the risk of death. Funds stand between them and their healthy, bright futures. You can help avoid these complications, by donating to Milaap Kids’ Rare Disease Fund, which will ensure that no child suffering from rare diseases is left behind.
Charity No : 319201431163
Click here to learn more about how you can make a difference.