My 9-year-old son Ashok Kumar has been diagnosed with thalassemia major and needs to undergo regular blood transfusions and chelation. He will also need to undergo a bone marrow transplant for complete cure and has a fully matched 10/10 HLA sister but we cannot afford to pay for it.
The onset of his illness was so sudden. He had gone to play with his friends but came home much earlier than usual and told me that he was feeling tired. This pattern continued for another 2 days and I noticed that he had become thin. I took Ashok to the doctor who told me that he had a fever and gave him medicines.
A couple of days later I panicked as my son’s condition deteriorated even further and took him back to the doctor who suggested a blood test. The doctor initially told us that the results would come in 2 days time, but he called us up that evening and told us to take our son to the hospital immediately as his fever was something much more serious.
We traveled 850 km to the Sri Ramchandra Hospital in Chennai where upon admission the doctors identified our son’s condition. We were shocked and I could feel my heart pounding through my chest. I thought that Ashok was done for, however, the doctors told us that it could be cured with treatment.
Ashok has been undergoing blood transfusions 5 times a month for the last 2 months. He asks me why has this illness come only to him and wonders out loud about what has he done to deserve this. When he looks out of the window and sees children going to school he remembers his own school in Tirunelveli and asks me when can he resume school, he asks me how much longer he will have to stay in the hospital and undergo such painful blood transfusions.
Ashok holds me tight and looks away from the doctor before each transfusion as he remembers the pain he endured during the previous one. As he cries when he sees the needles, I kiss his head, embrace him and tell him that it is needed if he wants to go home completely healthy.
The transfusions are just maintaining but not improving my son’s condition. He still feels very tired and has lost a lot of weight. The doctors have told us that the bone marrow transplant needs to be done urgently. We do not know how we can raise the money so quickly and fear for our son’s life.
Our son’s treatment will cost up to 15,00,000. My husband is a farmer and is the sole breadwinner of our family of 4. He earns approximately 3,000 a month and doesn’t even come to the hospital and works hard in the field all day long as he wants to try to earn money for Ashok’s transplant.
We have used up all our savings on Ashok’s medical bills and I have even sold my gold bangles, but it is not enough.