Food Heals and forms everlasting bonds

How Sachin’s Pishi nourished him back to health.

     *Picture of Khadija (right) with a patient

Two years ago, and after two back-to-back failed attempts to remove a tumour, four-year-old Sachin (name changed)* travelled more than 2000 kilometres from Kolkata to Mumbai.  

 His parents had given up on hospitals in Kolkata and spent almost all their savings in getting to Mumbai to save Sachin from a rare kind of cancer in the oral cavity called Rhabdomyosarcoma.

 The unbearable pain made it almost impossible for Sachin to chew, and he nearly stopped eating. No wonder when Cuddles Nutritionist Khadiija assessed him, he was severely malnourished and weighed just 11 kilos.   

 Alarmed by his condition on arrival, the doctors started feeding him through the Ryles tube that bypassed his mouth through the nose to reach his stomach directly. 

 Sachin’s father, a daily wage labourer, had no money to rent a room in an expensive city like Mumbai. So the hospital stepped in and gave shelter to the family. Without work, Sachin’s father could not even put food on the table. Khadija started them on monthly ration under our Food Heals Program to ensure that Sachin’s nutrition is not compromised and his parents don’t go hungry. 

 Two months later, the doctors informed the nutritionist that Sachin had to gain weight to be ready for his third surgery. It was difficult for a child who just couldn’t chew and had barely started taking food through a pipe. What followed was intense nutrition counselling by Cuddles Nutritionist Khadija to motivate Sachin’s mother to make healthy meals with the ration supplies, use supplements, feed him ghee and make him gradually gain weight. 

 Khadija’s dedication to Sachin forged a special bond between her and the family that trusted her guidance throughout the treatment. She is now Sachin’s Pishi (paternal aunt in Bengali). The provider of his colouring books and crayons who nourished him back to health. 

 Six months later Sachin put on three 3 kilos! After a year, with the tumour successfully removed and now under maintenance, Sachin is back home in Bengal. He’s also back at school. And when he’s not studying, he’s playing with his baby sister. 

 The benefits of nutrition have stayed with Sachin’s mother, who routinely monitors his weight and doesn’t let it drop. She fully understands and appreciates the role nutrition played in Sachin’s surgery and recovery. And 2000 kilometres away Sachin’s Pishi Khadija makes sure she calls and checks on him. 

 Together the doctors at the hospital and Cuddles nutritionists treated and took care of Sachin so that he could return to his life as a little boy who loves being his mischievous self.

*For privacy reasons, the patient’s name has been changed. Image used is for representational purpose only.

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