Campaign Ended! The campaign ended on September, 13 2017
“Your power levels have gone down. This tube you see will take the dripping power liquid inside your body so you can become strong again like Chhota Bheem.” Since I’ve told my 4-year-old son Rudra this, he flexes his tiny, needled arm every night before sleeping. I’ve tried different ways to answer his innocent questions and he seems to have liked this the most. I don’t have the strength or courage to tell my son that the reason he’s going through such painful tests and skipping school is the six lettered disease the world dreads - cancer.
I’m Dinesh Pote, a freelance gym trainer by profession. I live with my wife and two children in a small chawl in Chembur. A good month for me is earning Rs. 6,000 from the clients that I have. There are times when I struggle to find even one. Right now, I’m holding a medical bill in my hand that states that my son has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and the treatment will continue for 2-3 years costing me at least Rs. 12 lakhs which includes treatment and post operative costs. It’s like the sky came crashing down. Both cancer and the cost to save my son’s life have left my family devastated. My inability to pay for my son’s treatment can cost me his life. How will I live with myself if my son dies because I failed to pay on time? Your support in the form of donations can help me save my son’s life.
One unfortunate afternoon, I got a frantic call from Rudra’s teacher informing us that he has collapsed in the school. When we went to pick him up, he was running a temperature and he was limping while walking. On our local doctor’s advice, we got an X-ray done. All the reports were normal but Rudra continued to limp, we thought it must have been the after effect of the fall.
A few days later, while attending an aarti during Ganesh Chaturthi, I noticed a black coloured spot on his forehead. In a few days, these spots started spreading to other parts of his body, some even looked like blood clots. We got worried and rushed him to the nearest hospital run by a trust. After a few tests, the doctors explained that Rudra has blood cancer and it was curable provided I get the treatment started at the earliest. The treatment and other expenses would cost was a whopping Rs. 12 lakh. Since that day, every thought I have is around arranging this amount so I can save my son’s life.
The first few days at the hospital were extremely difficult for us. Rudra went through a series of painful tests - most of them would end with him screaming in pain, begging us to take him home. It was such a painful sight, his mother would often start crying too. When I saw Rudra’s arm at night, my heart broke. I decided to shift him to the Hinduja Hospital in Mahim immediately - his arm had turned purple and black because of the constant needling. I’m glad I made that decision because the tests my son undergoes are not painful anymore. After his experience at the trust, Rudra has developed a fear for needles, he starts crying when he sees doctors holding syringes. I can see that’s changing now - at a very slow pace but it is.
So far, I’ve spent over Rs. 1.5 lakh over tests, medicines and hospital charges. I mortgaged my wife’s mangalsutra and got about a lakh because of that. I’ve received the rest from running to trusts that help families of patients that can’t afford medical treatment on their own. But I haven’t come close to the amount I need to pay. I’ve written to many trusts already but I’m yet to hear from them. I don’t have a lot of time. Now my only hope is getting donations from people who read my story.
Since the last couple of days, things have changed dramatically for Rudra. He’s come from his classroom bench to a hospital bed, from being around his friends to being around nurses, doctors and other patients. The doctors explained that he’s at a high risk of infection so we make sure everything is dust free. My Rudra is a smart child. Often he reminds me to use the sanitizer when I come near him. He says “Baba how can you touch me before sanitizing your hands?”. He’s very co-operative for a 4-year-old. I try to keep things normal for him. He loves to colour so I ensure there’s always a colouring book at his bedside.
Rudra needs to get his treatment done before the cancer gets worse. I haven’t managed to gather any more money. The thought of losing my child haunts me when I’m sleeping and when I’m awake I have two children who look at me like I’m their hero. My younger daughter is always wondering where everyone is since my wife and I spend most of our time in the hospital. I just want to see Rudra healthy and happy again.
Please help me pay for my son’s treatment by donating to our fundraiser on Ketto.
Documents to Support
I cannot thank you all enough for the amount of support that you have shown for the treatment of Rudra. You people have been a ray of hope for me and my family. I cherish with joy when I see a smile on my sons face.
I am happy to tell you that he has successfully completed two cycles of chemotherapy and the third cycle will start from 26th of December 2017. Every cycle has 4-5 rounds. He still has to get the Complete Blood Count (CBC) test after every few week which is a bit annoying for him. Due to his health he has to stay at home all the time because of which he gets bored. He plays with his sister who is almost 2 years old and tries to have fun. He always tells me that he wants to travel the places, ride a camel, go to school etc. Hopefully he will be healthy soon and be able to do whatever he wishes for.
Thanks again for your generosity and support.
A huge thank you to all you philanthropists who donated to save Rudra. He is now in a much better condition but as you would expect, after a complex procedure such as chemotherapy one needs to take extra care as the body becomes very delicate. The white blood cell count is frighteningly low at 1800 but the doctor has told Rudras parents not to panic as chemotherapy also affects the good cells. Rudra’s parents are still limiting the number of people that can visit him as the body tends to catch infection very quickly. His second Chemo cycle will start on the 6th of November and he will be in the hospital for 1 week. They are taking every possible precaution to keep him healthy. He wears a mask as a preventive measure and they arrange for Bisleri water bottles and try to keep him as entertained as possible buying some toys and other things that keep him engaged.
On the brighter side, he is now very much back to normal and apart from taking preventive measures he is full of life and pumped up, and most importantly he is back home. This is a huge boost for his parents too after seeing him for so long in a hospital environment. He loves drawing so that is one of the things that has kept him engaged. His parents also give him homework, which he loves doing, as he is not going to school. He is constantly in touch with his school principal. Anyone who he wishes to meet is just a video call away and these calls bring a lot of joy to him. Let us all hope the second Chemo cycle will go well and Rudra will be even stronger.
Thank you all for giving this beautiful soul a second shot at life and let us wish him a speedy recovery.