“When my son did not give up, how could I?”

7-year-old Om is fighting cancer bravely in spite of all odds.

7-year-old Omkumar Shah moved to Pune with his family from Bihar when he was first diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia (ALL) on 30th January 2020. This was also the time when Om’s mother entered the third trimester of her pregnancy. With all these changes, Om’s father, Amitabh, quickly accepted that the next few months wouldn’t be easy.

“I was a tea seller in Bihar, and I was hoping that moving to Pune will be good for our entire family. Unfortunately, Om’s diagnosis derailed our plans, and I knew I had to do everything in my might to save my son’s life. It was not easy, but I have a brave son, and we both did what needed to be done,” says Amitabh. “The Cuddles Ration Program helped us in providing Om with the nutrition he needed and also took away some amount of financial pressure off me. The lockdown made it tough for me to set up a new business in Pune, so I am grateful that this instability did not come in the way of Om’s treatment,” adds Amitabh, who also vouches for Deepika, Om’s Nutritionist at Bharati Hospital, Pune who guided him at every step.

Deepika, on the other hand, regards Amitabh and Om’s resilience and sense of hope as a key differentiator in this case. She says, “Om is a special child. Unlike other children, Om has been on his best behaviour and extremely diligent with his treatment. Of course, he has had bad days, too while dealing with the side-effects induced by chemotherapy, but things never went out of hand. He is an open child, and hence I could reach out to him to comfort and counsel him.”

Om is not only good-natured but also attentive despite his condition. He knows which medicines to take, at what time to take them, and he also diligently follows the diet with the help of Deepika and his parents. “I want to grow up to be a policeman, and I need to be strong for that,” says Om, who is looking forward to serving the country when he grows up.

Amitabh, who visited the ward after the lockdown, came with fruits for everyone, and he is happy that Om is now in the “well-nourished category.” “I feel very positive about Om’s progress, and a big reason for that is Om’s sense of maturity. When my son did not give up, how could I?” adds Amitabh.

Thanks to your constant support, Om has the nourishment he needs to stay strong through this journey.

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