Like the Morning Sun!

True to her farming roots, 4-year-old Bhavana is the first to rise at St. John’s cancer ward. This is the story of how her infectious enthusiasm is spreading one hospital bed at a time.

Picture for representational purposes only.

4-year-old Bhavana comes from a small town in Andhra Pradesh where her family primarily lives on agriculture and cattle rearing. She has had a happy and simple childhood surrounded by her parents, grandparents, and green fields. Her days were filled with visiting her neighbours, playing with her toys, and following her grandparents as they tended to their crops.

This changed after Bhavana was diagnosed with APML (Acute ProMyelocytic Leukemia), and she had to move to Karnataka for her treatment. From being surrounded with green open spaces to being confined to the four walls of St. John’s Hospital in Bangalore, Bhavana has found the zeal to accept this change.

“She is much like the morning sun,” says Divya, her Nutritionist at St. John’s pediatric ward in Bangalore. Bhavana wakes up by 5 am and her day begins with milk that brings back memories from her village. Sometimes memories evoke strength that can go a long way in rising above difficult times in our lives. Bhavana is a living example of this. Unlike other children who are groggy when they wake up, Bhavana springs to action the moment she steps out of her bed. She goes around the ward like a bird chirping sweet nothings in the morning. The fact that her grandparents have not left her side assures her that everything will be alright. The steady flow of jaggery based sweets from them adds to her strength. She is enthusiastic and proactively shares her progress report with the nutritionist at St. John. The teddy bear she received from Cuddles Foundation keeps her company throughout. “With the pandemic, we are facing a space crunch at the pediatric ward. With growing cases of infection and the general mood being that of caution, Bhavana’s sunny disposition lightens our days too. She follows her diet chart covered under our ‘FoodHeals Program’ religiously and takes out time to meditate too,” informs Divya as she vouches for Bhavana’s quick recovery.

Bhavana’s parents depend on a daily wage to sustain themselves, and this is where you’ve stepped in to ensure that Bhavana receives her daily intake of nutrition required for her treatment. Bhavana’s mother is also expecting her second child. While she prepares for the well-being of her second child, her family ensures that she gets the care she deserves. Bhavana’s mother is stressed, but she continues to stay positive and is relieved that she has the support from Cuddles and the social work department at St. John’s. The fact that she can communicate with the hospital staff in her local language also helps her stay in control of Bhavana’s health and needs. You’ll be happy to know that Bhavana has completed four rounds of chemotherapy at St. John’s and is back in her village, and after follow-ups spread across three years, she will hopefully defeat cancer. She still stays positive and has now returned home where she can go back to the familiar open space, play with her toys, and in due course fulfil her dream of becoming a fashion designer.

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About Shreya Gupta

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