“Everyone has a problem to deal with. But trust and hard work can solve the biggest of problems,” says Smitha, a mother who is doing everything it takes to save her seven-year-old son from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. These words should provide comfort and hope to all caregivers of patients in their initial phase of chemotherapy. She further emphasizes the support system of doctors, nurses, and nutritionists that works tirelessly to ease treatment side-effects and cure cancer – “Always trust the wonderful team of healthcare workers because they’re going to save your child’s life if you do the right things.”
Smitha has a physical disability, and her husband suffers from a low IQ. She is financially dependent on her parents, who support the entire family on the rent they receive from various shops they own.
Smitha elaborates, “We first visited a hospital in another city, but we did not get any help for the treatment, then we changed the hospital and came to KMC, Manipal. We could not afford the cost of treatment, accommodation, travel expenses, and food every month. If we did not get ration bundles every month, we would not have been able to feed Pranam. The egg, bananas, and milkshakes we received during our OPD visits filled us up, saving us more money. On days when Pranam would not feel like eating anything, he would still never refuse chikki, which Cuddles Foundation provided.”
Pranam’s progress reinforces our aim to use nutrition as an integral component in helping cancer patients fight treatment side effects and eventually survive cancer. This process-oriented approach is a holistic and agile program that adapts depending on a child’s needs. Pranam is part of our Supplements, Ration, and In-meals programs you so generously support. These programs were critical for Pranam’s treatment because his family would have been unable to afford good nutrition without them. The ration kit and supplements helped them to save almost Rs. 2-2.5k every month, which made it easy for them to purchase medicines.
You enable this support system that is consistently saving lives through the right nutritional interventions. Krithika, our nutritionist at Kasturba Medical College and Hospital (KMC), Manipal, finds Smitha’s will to do almost anything despite her challenges very inspiring.
She says, “Smitha has put in her 100% in getting Pranam the right treatment. She moved cities for him with very little support. She follows all the instructions given by doctors and me. I was especially impressed with her dedication during Pranam’s stem cell transplant. She did not rest till she was sure that Pranam is safe and well-taken care of.”
Smitha also recounts an emotional moment during Pranam’s stem cell surgery. She recollects, “When Pranam was undergoing the stem cell transplantation, he started showing severe side-effects to the engraftment process. The doctors were very pessimistic about his chances of survival. I was very worried. And then the most beautiful thing happened. All the nurses in the ward started to recite and write down a prayer 10,000 times. This made me very emotional and gave me a lot of strength.”
These moments motivate us to keep up the good fight against cancer. We will continue to support Pranam and his family till he successfully defeats cancer. This has been made possible because of you. So, a big thank you.