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"Being a barber's son never stopped Tuhir from having big dreams. Tuhir's fascination with his doctor game knew no bounds. Anyone in our neighbourhood will tell you that Tuhir's doctor kit and he were inseparable. There is not a single person he hasn't attended to in our neighbourhood. He was obsessed with the idea of wearing the noble white coat someday, for real. Now, we cry in disbelief as we see our ever smiling Tuhir gasp for air as nausea takes him for a cruel spin. Every time, the doctor drops by for a visit, Tuhin hides behind my saree because he's terrified of injections. The cancer made him lose weight so rapidly that in due course we were barely able to recognize our own son."
Tuhir's 8-year-old brain was advanced for his age. His parents positively glowed when they watched him add up big figures and spell huge words without any difficulty. He was their source of pride and his parents were sure that he would become the doctor that he always aspired to be. But fate had different plans for them in store. Their calm lives in a sleepy village in West Bengal suddenly went for a toss.
"After a busy Saturday of roaming around the whole neighbourhood with his doctor kit, Tuhir came home to lie down for a bit. As I was feeding him, my eyes fell on his stomach. One side of his stomach looked swollen. It looked to be an irregular shape. Even though none of us is very educated, almost immediately we understood that something was off and it didn't take us long to realize that he had to be rushed to the hospital at the earliest."
Their anxiety wasn't getting any better they were redirected from one doctor to the other with no one able to provide a clear diagnosis. 2 X-rays and four consultations later, they decided that they had enough. A family friend's doctor was kind enough to take a look at their son. He suspected it to be some kind of tumour and he strongly felt that it was best if Tuhir was admitted in the hospital as soon as possible. They were asked to go to Chennai as the doctor felt that there weren't many options to treat Tuhir effectively in Kolkata.
"Between bouts of confusion, shock and harsh doses of reality, we started our journey to Chennai. This was the first time I was leaving West Bengal and as I left the countryside, I began to see huge buildings and unfamiliar faces pop up. For a man who has spent his whole life in a village, it was one thing to leave his village, it was a whole other thing to leave his state. I looked over at my wife struggling to grapple with the uncertainty of what was about to come for us in Chennai. The money that our friends and relatives lent us was just enough to provide for the travel and the medical expenses that we had incurred so far. We were going to land in a new city with no money on us."
It was not just the transition from the village side to the city that they were trying to come to terms with, it was also the anxiety of not knowing what exactly plagued their son. No one in Kolkata seemed to have an answer and their worry knew no bounds.
They wasted no time in admitting him to a hospital in Chennai. After several gruelling hours of waiting and hoping, the doctors told them that their son had a rare disease called Wilm's tumour. Their son's left kidney had become tumorous. The doctors told them that this was a rare case as most patients with Wilm's tumour are mostly under 5 while their Tuhir was nearing 9. They were told that chemotherapy was their only immediate source of hope, after 6 months of chemotherapy, they will perform a surgery to completely bring him back to wellness.
"The doctor told us that our son's left kidney had a tumour, I was too shocked to even process what my poor Tuhir was going through. No wonder no one back home knew what it was. As soon as the doctor told me that his condition was treatable, I was ready to do whatever it takes. In order to cope up with his medical expenses in this new city, I just eat once a day. I do so knowing that the small amounts of money that I'm getting to save here and there will pave a way for my Tuhir to recover completely."
Tuhir's sister often tries to press on to his brother's stomach hoping that would stop his stomach from swelling up. She is too young to process what was going on and their parents were in no position to explain as they themselves aren't quite aware of what it is that their son is affected with. Tuhir's father is a barber back in their village and he barely earned Rs 3,000 a month. Their travel and the medical expenses incurred so far has exhausted all their savings. They have spent a total of Rs 50,000 so far, they have already borrowed money from their relatives back home.
What You Can Do To Help
Tuhir's disorder has compelled his parents to leave their home in West Bengal behind, in order to come to Chennai to seek treatment for his medical condition. Tuhir is now admitted in Apollo Hospital in Chennai, 1800 km from the place that he calls home. His stomach has swollen to almost double its size and his parents are doing everything they can. They have resorted to crowdfunding after having lost it all in trying to save their only son. Every rupee that you contribute will bring them closer to saving their only son. Please share their plight with your friends and family on Whatsapp and Facebook. Let's help Tuhir achieve his dream of becoming a doctor.