“Help us save our little boy.” – Cancer patient’s family appeals to the kindness of strangers
“Your power levels have gone down. This tube you see will take liquid power inside your body so you can become strong again like Chhota Bheem.” Ever since I’ve mentioned this to my 4-year-old, Rudra, he flexes his tiny, needled arm every night before sleeping. We’ve tried different ways to answer his innocent questions and he seems to have liked this the most. I don’t have the strength or courage to tell my son that the reason he’s going through such painful tests is the six-lettered disease the world dreads - cancer.
I’m Dinesh Pote, a freelance gym trainer by profession. I live with my wife and two children in a small chawl in Chembur, Mumbai. A good month for me means earning around Rs. 6,000 from clients; however, there are times when I struggle to find even one. Right now, I’m holding a report in my hands, which states that my son has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. The treatment for this will span a period of 2-3 years and cost at least Rs. 10 lakh. Desperate, scared, and frantic, we’ve now pinned all hopes on the kindness of strangers – like you – and the crowd-sourcing forum Ketto to help bring our boy back from the sure jaws of death.
It all started one unfortunate afternoon, when we received a frantic call from Rudra’s teacher informing us that he had collapsed at school. He was running a temperature and limped while walking. On our local doctor’s advice, we got an X-ray done. All reports were normal but Rudra continued to limp.
A few days later, while attending an aarti for Ganesh Chaturthi, I noticed a black spot on his forehead. In a few days, these spots started spreading to other parts of his body; some even looked like blood clots. After a few tests at the nearest hospital, the doctors explained that Rudra had blood cancer. It was curable, provided we get the treatment started at the earliest.
For my family and me, it was like the sky had come crashing down. Both, the cancer and the cost to save my son’s life have left us devastated. My inability to pay for his cure can cost us his life. How will I live with myself if my son dies because I failed to raise the money for his treatment? Your support in the form of donations can help save my son’s life.
The first few days at the hospital were extremely difficult for us. Rudra went through a series of painful tests - most of them would end with him screaming and begging us to take him home. It was such an excruciating sight; his mother would often start crying too. When I saw Rudra’s arms at night, my heart would break – they had turned purple and black because of the constant pricking. I decided to shift him to Hinduja Hospital immediately; thankfully, the tests my son undergoes here are not painful anymore.
So far, we’ve spent over Rs. 1.5 lakh over tests, medicines, and hospital charges. I mortgaged my wife’s jewellery, as well as turned to trusts that help families of patients that can’t afford medical treatment. But I haven’t come even close to the amount I need to pay. I’ve written to many other trusts but I’m yet to hear from them. I don’t have a lot of time. Now, my only hope lies in the contributions from people who read my story.
Over the last couple of days, things have changed dramatically for Rudra. He’s come from his classroom bench to a hospital bed, from being surrounded by friends to being around nurses, doctors, and other patients. He’s at a high risk of infection so we make sure that everything is dust-free. Rudra is a smart child: He often reminds me to use the sanitizer before I come near him. He says, “Baba, how can you touch me before sanitizing your hands?” He’s very co-operative for a 4-year-old and we try to keep things normal around him. He loves to colour so I ensure there’s always a colouring book by his bedside.
Rudra needs his treatment before the cancer gets worse. I haven’t managed to gather any more money. The thought of losing my child haunts me when I’m sleeping; but, when I wake up, my two children still look up to me like I’m their hero.
We desperately want to see Rudra healthy and happy again. Please help me pay for my son’s treatment by donating to our fundraiser page on Ketto. Your prayers and your contributions can make all the difference in his – and our – little world.
-By Dinesh Pote as told to HT Brand Studio
Founded in 2012, Ketto is a trusted crowdfunding platform that focuses on raising funds and awareness, chiefly on issues in the social domain. Much like an online support network, it allows individuals to know more about issues they support and actively facilitate change through donations. They’ve previously helped raise significant amounts for a variety of different causes. Presently, the organization is trying its best to make Rudra’s story a positive one by ensuring that he receives his treatment on time. Find out how you too can be a part of this here.
(This content was created in partnership with HT Brand Studio and not the editorial team)