This is the story of how a single mother single-handedly puts her child’s well-being above all else.
Cuddles Nutritionists are a force of forces. They are nothing short of all-rounders. While the clinical nutrition training they receive gives them all the background they need to support the children in their care, it’s the other facets of their approach that set them apart. Their creativity, empathy and resourcefulness make them an anchor in the lives of so many families dealing with cancer diagnosis.
In this story of 12 year old Amit, Anamika, his nutritionist at the partner hospital, is playing a vital role of keeping a family disheartened by around 8 years of cancer treatment on a hopeful path. Amit was battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL) cancer and was well on his way to recover when his cancer came back. Due to the relapse of the disease, he had no other option but to undergo a bone marrow transplant.
The rigorous treatment procedure came with painful side effects.
“During his bone marrow transplant phase, his father would come to me in tears with Amit’s CBC reports because the counts were low. Low CBC counts are a common outcome in the immediate period post transplant. Low counts can mean the onset of various symptoms, a few being fatigue, weakness and a weakened immune system. With time and as a course of treatment, they improve. But until the counts were stable again, I had to play the role of a counsellor, consoling him and making him realise that he needed to give it a little time. It was crucial for me to keep him hopeful so that they didn’t pull out of treatment. After some days when his counts improved, his father’s confidence and positivity lifted the spirits of the entire family.”
Owing to the relapse and intensive treatment, Amit’s nutritional status shifted from well nourished to severe acute malnourishment, and Anamika tells us that it was very hard for his parents to see his situation turn. Anamika placed him in our Supplements, Ration, In-meals programmed to support him and his family during his ongoing treatment. Her skilled approach to planning his diet has meant a life-changing difference. She is happy to report that Amit has fought treatment side-effects successfully and is improving now. But she feels it’s equally important to mention that the nutrition support came at a crucial moment for the family. A move to Varanasi from their hometown of Jaunpur meant that Amit’s father lost his job. The family was financially broken, which also affected them from staying positive about treatment. “The nutritional support meant one less thing for the entire family to worry about. Both the father and mother often tell me how they consider being a part of the programme a huge blessing”, Anamika tells us.
The on-and-off struggles with cancer through his childhood have meant that Amit hasn’t been able to go to school. He wishes with all his heart to be able to do so soon. In the meanwhile, Anamika doubles up as a friend and cheerleader. “Sometimes Amit doesn’t want to touch food, but when Anamika Didi counsels him, he starts following her plan”, his mother lets us know fondly. When we ask Anamika about her bond with Amit, here’s what she has to say –
“Amit has very simple and earnest dreams. What he longs for most is to play, go to school, and one day earn and support his family. It’s my role to help nourish his dreams, and it’s a role I take very very seriously.”
Here’s to the many Amit-and-Anamika-like stories that you help support by your contributions to our mission. Through our all-rounder nutritionists, you help provide all-round support to people who need it the most.
*For privacy reasons, the patient’s name has been changed.