Before 7-year-old Priti Bachhar was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), a type of cancer that starts in the bone marrow’s blood-forming cells, she spent her time playing with toys and riding her bicycle around the neighbourhood. The diagnosis in June 2020 also disrupted her schooling at Saraswati Sishu Siksha Niketan, where she enjoyed studying Bengali, her favourite subject, and playing with her best friend, Jyoita.
The lockdown made the situation even more complicated for Priti’s family. Asim, Priti’s father, a farmer from Burdwan, a city in West Bengal, says, “We come from a very humble background. During Priti’s treatment, we had to travel 103 km to Saroj Gupta Hospital in Kolkata and ended up paying Rs 10,000 for a journey that cost Rs 2,000 during the pre-lockdown period.”
He continues, “This is where Cuddles Foundation’s In-meal, Supplement and Ration Program helped in relieving the physical and mental stress we had during Priti’s treatment. Now that Cuddles is sponsoring Priti’s food, there is less financial pressure on us, and we can manage our household expenses better.”
Pinky, Priti’s mother, adds, “The diagnosis really froze us, and we were very anxious about the future. This affected our diets, too; we lost weight and were feeling confused about Priti’s needs. With these programs and Moumita’s guidance, we were able to regain control of Priti’s treatment.”
Moumita, our Nutritionist at Saroj Gupta Hospital, is happy about the progress Priti and her parents have made. She says, “Priti’s father has a huge debt which will take nearly five years to repay. I have been sensitive about the financial challenges faced by Priti’s family and tried my best to work with them, so their time during the treatment does not add to the stress. This situation could trigger an adverse impact on Priti’s progress during the treatment. They still fear a relapse, but they are handling the situation with much more positivity now.”
This has improved Priti’s overall sense of physical and mental well-being and shows well on the weighing scale too. Priti was moderately thin at 16.9 kgs in June 2020, when her treatment began and is now well-nourished at 21.1 kgs in Jan 2021. Priti has crossed the high dosage stage of chemotherapy and is about to begin her maintenance cycle. It helps that Priti is a happy child and spends her time like a child should – playing with her doll and cooking imaginary dishes on her kitchen set after watching cooking shows with her mother on YouTube.
Priti and her family now have a chance of rebuilding their life, thanks to your support.