I’m Shakhthivelu, father to a 10-year-old boy Naren. I weave pest control nets for a living and make Rs. 6,000 every month. I live in a small house in Salem with my wife, mother and elder son. The reason you’re reading my story is my desperation. I’m trying to save my son’s life and now after exhausting every source of help I can possibly get, I’m left with only one hope – help from strangers who read my story.
I still remember each and every feeling I experienced when I heard the word “cancer” for the first time. My palms turned cold, I could hear my heart thudding in my ear, my breaths became short and shallow, my body started breaking into a sweat and everything outside blanked out. I had managed to dodge that dreadful word for the last 42 years of my life. But now all of a sudden it had knocked on my door and caught hold of my 10-year-old son’s life. Today cancer has dragged him from human legs to those of a wheelchair. And there’s absolutely nothing I can do apart from ensuring a continuous supply of money so the treatment and the medicines that are keeping him alive don’t stop. I’ve never felt this vulnerable in my life.
Since Naren’s diagnosis, I live in a small rented house near the HCG Hospital, Bengaluru. The doctors there have asked me to pay Rs. 7 lakh before the end of October. I don’t have the courage to confirm what happens if I fail to pay on time, the serious look on my doctor’s face scares me from doing so. My son’s life is hanging by a thin thread, and every passing day is a terrifying reminder of that.
It all started in May 2017. Naren came earlier than usual after playing cricket with his friends. Once he goes to play, he only comes back after we yell at him and threaten to take his favourite bat away. So when he came early, we knew something was wrong. He complained of acute pain in his back and both his legs. At one point, he even collapsed while walking to the kitchen. We rushed to the hospital. After a few tests, we found out that my son was suffering from Osteosarcoma Proximal Right Tibia that’s causing the bone in his leg to grow abnormally. The doctors also explained that since Naren was at his first stage, it can be cured, provided we get the treatment started at the earliest. Your support can help us pay for the treatment on time.
As soon as we returned from the doctor’s cabin, Naren started asking us a lot questions. “When will my leg stop hurting?”, “When did he say can we go back home?”, “We have a match this Saturday, will we reach by then?”. Today Naren has spent over 100 days at the hospital and we’ve managed to convince him that we’re trying to fix a wound in his leg so he’s all fine to play cricket again. The frequency of his questions reduced with time and now he barely talks. He misses his school and friends badly. At this stage, we can’t even afford to buy him gifts to bring a smile to his face. All we can do is wait, hope and pray.