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“It breaks my heart to see him sad”—Father appeals for help for child’s transplant

As three-year-old Herin fights Thalassemia, his hassled family banks on the generosity of strangers to cover the staggering cost of treatment.

brand stories Updated: Oct 25, 2017 16:02 IST
Ketto,Herin Khokhar,Thalassemia
Suffering from an inherited blood disorder known as Thalassemia, little Herin Khokhar needs your help with his Bone Marrow Transplant operation(Kalpesh Khokhar)

Every time I take my three-year-old son to the hospital, he starts weeping. He even tries to run away. It breaks my heart to see such anger and sadness in his eyes, but what else can I do?

When Herin was three months old, he was diagnosed with Thalassemia Major. Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder in which the body makes an abnormal form of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in the red blood cells that carries oxygen. The disease leads to poor growth, impaired physical activities, facial and other bone deformities, fragile bones, and enlargement of the liver and spleen.

Doctors say a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) will save Herin from a lifetime of painful blood transfusions. The surgery will replace Herin’s damaged bone marrow with healthy stem cells, enabling him to lead a normal, healthy life. It will, however, cost us a staggering Rs. 30 lakh.

For the last three years, my son has been undergoing blood transfusions every 20 days. Missing or even delaying a single transfusion can cost us his life. However, like any other child of his age, he is scared of needles and hospitals. Therefore, I lie to him every time I take him for his treatment-- “We’re going to meet your bua”, “We’re going to watch Bahubali”, “We’re all having ice cream today.”

Our only hope now lies in the contributions of caring strangers through Ketto.org.

Doctors say a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) will save Herin from a lifetime of painful blood transfusions. The surgery will replace Herin’s damaged bone marrow with healthy stem cells, enabling him to lead a normal, healthy life. It will, however, cost us a staggering Rs. 30 lakh. We have started a fund-raising page with Ketto.org, counting on people’s sense of humanity to help us with this lifesaving surgery.

A single blood transfusion for Herin costs us Rs. 2,200, while the medicines cost us Rs.4,200. So far, I’ve spent Rs. 4,50,000. Gathering this amount wasn’t easy. I make only Rs. 8,000 a month by supplying mineral water bottles to offices. To fund the treatment, I ended up borrowing money from relatives and exhausting all my savings. I even wrote to various trusts pleading for help. My mother, who suffered a brain hemorrhage, requires medications worth Rs. 3,500 every month as well.

My son is the naughtiest child I know. He’s always playing. All this, however, lasts only for 18 days. He then becomes extremely weak, and loses his appetite. We try to offer him pizza, his favourite food, but to no purpose. It is only after another round of transfusion that he regains his energy and playfulness.

We need to put together Rs. 30 lakh for Herin’s surgery in the next 20 days. But, for a family like ours, we have no means to afford that kind of money. Therefore, we have started a fund-raising page with Ketto.org in Herin’s name, in the hope that people will come forward and help us raise the funds for this surgery.

Every time we come closer to the date of a transfusion, I fear that I will lose my son. How will he survive if I fail to pay in time? It makes me feel like the worst father in the world. Please help us pay for Herin’s BMT by logging on to Ketto.org.

- (As told by Kalpesh Khokhar, Herin’s father)

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 organisation is trying its best to make Herin’s story a positive one by ensuring that he receives his treatment in 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)

First Published: Oct 25, 2017 12:16 IST