When the children of his age toddle around in play schools, Kushpreet (4) is in a battle for survival against acute lymphoblastic leukemia (blood cancer).
His parents are unable to pay for the treatment that is on at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, since September 2013. The family is from Kusla village in Mansa district, part of the cancer belt in the Malwa region of Punjab.
Kushpreet’s father, Naib Singh, who makes 250 a day barely, sold off two cattle heads and a one-kanal plot, yet the money raised fell short of required. Camping here for the past seven months has cost the daily-wager a lot of income. He also has a daughter (1) to raise.
“On days, the family has not found meal. In six months, we have spent 7 lakh on the treatment after borrowing from village landlords, friends, and relatives. My mother-in-law, who is from a family of dailywagers at a brick kiln, sold her entire jewellery,” said Naib, worrying how he would repay the debt and recalling those harrowing initial months when Khushpreet was fed through a pipe.
“The support and care that members of the hospital staff gave my son have kept him alive,” said the poor man. Kushpreet requires complete blood transfusion and a course of medicines for at least the next three-years and-a-half. Follow-up visits will mean more expenses. “I can’t afford even the bus fare. One way from my village costs 220,” said Naib Singh.
His son’s responding to the treatment gives him hope. People are helping him complete the time-consuming formalities to claim money from the Punjab government cancer relief fund but he would need a more generous support.
TO HELP: SEND MONEY TO THE STATE BANK OF PATIALA SAVINGS ACCOUNT (65110984213) OF NAIB SINGH; OR CALL HIM UP AT +91-87289-16328