“Time’s running out.” – Leukaemia patient’s family appeals for funds for surgery
It was October 2015 with the school year on in full swing and mid-term exams just around the corner. Syeda, our 6-year-old, however, had missed three days of school on account of high fever. After the fifth day, with her fever still hovering steady at 104-105 degrees, my husband and I rushed her to JSS hospital in Mysore. She looked frail and her hands were covered in bruises, which she scratched at incessantly till she drew blood. The doctors were concerned about the sudden weight loss and put her on a drip immediately. They increased her dose of antibiotics and suggested that we run a few blood tests in the morning.
Two days later we were summoned back into the clinic. As we waited for the verdict, my husband and I braced ourselves. It was just a bad viral, right? Turns out, we couldn’t have been further off.
Syeda had been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
As the doctor spelled out the situation to us, we sat back – shocked and blank. The terms were alien to us, but the doctor’s expression wasn’t. We immediately knew that our lives were about to change.
Hope and despair
The doctor explained that she was suffering from cancer of the blood and bone marrow, which affected the rate of production of her red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. It needed to be treated urgently. The very next day my husband Syed quit his job, we gathered our belongings, and left for Bangalore in the hope that more qualified doctors and better hospitals would save our darling daughter from the most dangerous of childhood cancers.
We used to be a simple, regular, and happy family. Syed worked seven days a week as a salesman at a silk saree emporium in Mysore, with a monthly income of ₹15,000 which paid for the schooling of the kids and other household expenses. Our savings were low and mostly in the form of gold that we acquired during our wedding, 17 years ago.
After Syeda’s diagnosis, we mortgaged our family home in Mysore and now live in a small rented room five minutes from the hospital in Bangalore. Syeda has undergone multiple rounds of blood transfusions and three rounds of chemotherapy. The road to her recovery has been challenging—filled with hope and despair in equal measure.
A sudden relapse
Syeda was initially reacting positively to her treatment with an increase in RBC count and low number of leukaemia “blasts”. Then, in December 2016, her bone marrow report suggested a sudden relapse. Her lymphoblasts were recorded at 80% (a considerably high figure) reflecting the persistence of the disease. Dr. Sunil Bhat, the Head of Paediatric Haematology Oncology and Bone Marrow, who oversees her treatment, suggested a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) as treatment.
The BMT however costs a staggering ₹30 lakhs – an amount that my husband and I can’t even dream of raising on our own.
To give you some perspective, so far we have spent 6 lakhs for her treatment and chemotherapy. We have exhausted every last resource available to us: mortgaged our home, sold whatever jewellery we had, and borrowed from friends and family.
Very recently, we received a call from the doctor. They have found a willing donor whose bone marrow matches Syeda’s. This is a rare stroke of good news. However, we now have only one month to get the finances in place.
My husband and I turned to Ketto.org as our last resort to save our baby girl. We have started a page in her name in the hope that kind individuals can help us fund this BMT. Specifically, the money raised will be used to pay for the extensive surgery and related medical bills.
“Time’s running out for our Syeda, and we desperately need your help.”
My words alone cannot convey what we – as parents of an ailing child--- go through every minute. Each day begins and ends with a prayer for a miracle – one last chance – that will allow us to take Syeda home, back to her family, her friends, and to her joyful school days.
We appeal to you for prayers and donations. Please help us raise funds for Syeda’s BMT by donating on our fundraiser page at Ketto.org. Also, do share the page amongst your loved ones so that we can reach even more people with her story.
-By Hajira Humerea 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 Syeda’s story a positive one by ensuring that she receives her transplant 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)