When school is a dream come true

A story of a childhood saved

A school uniform, pigtails with ribbons, high socks and polished shoes – That’s what a parent pictures for their 5-year-old child. One of the biggest milestones in those early years is their kid’s first day of school.

But for so many little lives who meet with a cancer diagnosis, like Ayesha, the word ‘school’ gets struck off and replaced with ‘hospital’ until they are well enough again.

Ayesha came to us in 2021 at our partner hospital in Hyderabad. Today, at age 5, she is in maintenance mode of her treatment for Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and is busy preparing for her first day of school, ever!

Though her journey to get to this point has been a challenging one, the support of her family, her healthcare experts, and you – our donors, have all played a significant part in her life story. During the initial phases of treatment, she could barely open her eyes as they would swell up, and her little giggles were replaced with cries of pain. Her nutritional status was hovering around moderate thinness and needed to be bettered to give her body strength and lift up her spirits.

Haripriyanka Pannala, our nutritionist tells us about her journey – “With a child this young, the goal is very clear – how fast can we help this child feel well so that she can go back to being a happy kid again. When her mother was in labour with her second child, Ayesha faced severe side effects of mucositis and febrile neutropenia. She also became silent, unresponsive and disinterested in food. I knew I had to go the extra mile so I would play ludo and other games and built my rapport with her. I became her cue that it was lunch time and she slowly started eating again. Along with the help of her Aunt who stepped up and was counselled by me, her nutritional status improved to ‘well nourished’. We planned recipes that would keep the food tasty, and the plan worked!

Her father, an electrician managing a family of 4 and Ayesha’s cancer treatment is deeply grateful for your support.

“Our family has never experienced this kind of illness in the past and it came as a very big shock. Thanks to the supplements, rations and meals, and our nutritionist’s support, my child is now getting ready for her first day of school. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up. I hope we can make her dream come true.”

Ayesha is now in maintenance mode and continues to receive all the nutritional support she needs for this stage of her recovery journey. Whenever she comes for her check-ups, she runs to meet her nutritionist-didi Haripriyanka first. It’s been a true joy for all of us here at Cuddles to have played a part in helping this little champ get ready for her first day of school ever.

Feed a child like Ayesha

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