Everyone has a story to tell, these are stories of children who are hoping to someday tell their stories to the world; stories of how they fought past their sickness with innocence and courage.
Kuvitha, Srimathi, Rashiya, and Thiru are some of the many kids that I’ve met undertaking blood transfusions every month with the support of Voluntary Health Services, Chennai.
10-year-old Rashya Sulthana awaiting Bone Marrow Transplant
Over the years, since they’ve been diagnosed with Thalassemia, it has now become their routine to take a day off from school every month to come undertake blood transfusions, and now their only shot at living a healthy normal life again is to undergo a Bone Marrow Transplant.
4-year-old Thiru awaiting Bone Marrow Transplant
“Unlike cancer treatment or organ transplant, people do not understand the need and importance for bone marrow transplant for our children. We’ve realised that unless people know what we’re dealing with and the huge cost involved, it’s hard for them to empathize with us” says Kuvitha’s mother.
8-year-old Kuvitha awaiting Bone Marrow Transplant
Put in simple words, Thalassemia is a blood disorder which results in excessive destruction of red blood cells, which leads to anemia and thus they’re advised to undertake blood transfusions routinely to maintain the RBC count. A bone-marrow transplant (BMT) is recommended as a curative option to prevent the iron from the transfusions built up in their organs.
Other than the huge financial aspect of the treatment, from finding a suitable donor for transplant to being hospitalized in isolation post-transplant to avoid infections, the procedure involved often gets physically as well emotionally deteriorating for these children and their families.
These are some of the kids who were fortunate to find a matching donor for the transplant but do not have the financial means required for the treatment.
5-year-old Srimathy awaiting bone marrow transplant
As a layman hearing their stories of struggle in their one last chance to healthy life made me understand the need for awareness and support for Bone Marrow Transplant procedures.
Did you know that the month of November is the National Marrow Awareness Month? Thousands of our children with this diagnosis can have a chance at living a healthy life with BMT but are still awaiting a donor or do not have the financial support to get it done. Your awareness and support can be a big push forward in their battles!