Selvi loves playing kho-kho. Nothing gives her more joy than sprinting around the field and tagging her friends as the next ‘denner.’ However, every 15 days, she has to skip school and even her play time and spend her entire day at the hospital. Ever since her 2nd birthday, her life has revolved around hospital visits and tests. She is just 7 years old and has to undergo painful blood transfusions to stay alive.
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"The joy and happiness on her face when she plays just disappears as soon as we enter the hospital room and she sees the needles. Now she considers this to be a matter of routine which breaks our hearts."
In February 2014, when my elder son received a bone marrow transplant for his Thalassemia Major (A blood disorder involving lower-than-normal amounts of an oxygen-carrying protein), we assumed that the constant trips to the hospital would stop and we could go home for good. However, we were so wrong as just a month later our dear little girl was diagnosed with the same disease.
When our little girl first complained that she was feeling sleepy and did not seem excited to eat the chicken biryani I had prepared for lunch, I touched her forehead and as it was slightly warm and I immediately put the fan on fast and gave her medicines.
As the doses had no effect and Selvi did not get better our minds flashed back to 2010 when our son Kaviyan had the same problems. We panicked and rushed Selvi to the hospital we had become so familiar with over the last 3 years. Throughout the journey we hoped and prayed that our daughter’s illness was different from that of her brother and its similar pattern was just a coincidence.
At the hospital, all we could do was wait. As minutes turned to hours a sense of dread began building up within us. We remembered that the doctors took an eternity to diagnose our son and now were doing the same with our little girl. The receptionist who recognised us from our frequent hospital trips since 2010 came up to us and urged us to believe in God and have faith. When the doctors came to us and told us that we better sit, we assumed the worst and their next words confirmed our fears.
"They told us that a bone marrow transplant was what would completely cure our daughter at the earliest."
At that time we did not have the money for a transplant and could only afford her transfusion sessions. We did not know how to ask our friends for more money as we had just started to repay them for helping us with our son’s medical bills.
Now 5 years later we have been told that the bone marrow transplant needs to be done at the earliest or else it could lead to complication in our daughter’s life. This treatment will cost Rs 18 lakh ($ 25,750) and we do not have that sort of money. Over the last few years, my husband has drained up every single rupee of his monthly salary of Rs 5,000 ($ 72) in treating our children.
To help Selvi get a bone marrow transplant, donate here.
"It crushes my husband to see us no closer to getting the money needed to save our daughter."
My husband works as a coolie where he constantly bears the weight of commuters’ luggage on his shoulders. However, none of that is as heavy as the burden he has been bearing for the last 5 years. We want to rescue her from blood transfusions and provide her with a normal life.
Every night we look at my bank balance on my phone and whisper a prayer that the next morning will see us have just a little bit more so that we can be just that bit closer to saving our only daughter. A small contribution from your end will go a long way in saving our little girl and rescuing us. Please help us.
[As told to Ketto]
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