“We had started keeping count. Every 15 days Anuj’s fever would return, bringing along with it the tell-tale signs of boiling patches on his legs and arms. The condition would disappear as swiftly as it appeared. The third time this happened, we took him to a local physician, who inspected his pale, scarred skin closely. Next thing we knew, he was asked to be moved to a hospital immediately.”
Anuj’s blood tests showed that his platelet count was drastically low. He was given a blood transfusion immediately, in Nanavati Hospital in Vile Parle. However, the doctors noticed something really puzzling. Even after the recent blood transfusion, the platelet count had moved back to its previous amount. To combat this, the doctors gave him more blood transfusions and the same thing happened again. This time, Sandhya saw the doctors hastily sharing a worried glance. She knew almost immediately that her 33-year-old husband was in trouble.
It takes 3 words for life to change overnight..
“I remember the details perfectly. The date was 20th of November, 2017. It was still warm in Mumbai and I remember worrying about the fact that Anuj hadn’t been eating well. That worry were quickly replaced by fear when the doctors diagnosed him with Bone Marrow Failure. I instinctively held my stomach. My unborn baby’s father’s life was in danger.”
For a couple of months, Anuj received high dosage of medicines, which didn’t work as effectively as the doctors had hoped. Almost simultaneously, Bone Marrow Transplant was suggested. However, no one, not his parents, his two sisters or Sandhya were a match. Getting a donor from abroad was out of the question as it cost far more than they could ever hope to afford.
Light at the end of the tunnel… or not?
The next option was a treatment called ATG Therapy. - which kills the harmful T-cells in the body that are attacking the bone marrow stem cells. The Kumar family’s home quickly took over the appearance of a prayer hall as all of them huddled together to pray daily for the quick recovery of a husband, a brother, a son and a to-be father.
“The first step was moving to Indore to get him admitted to CBCC Cancer Centre there which was well versed in this therapy. He was given 5 injections, each costing Rs. 18,000/-. For 6 months, we patiently checked his response rate to the treatment. His platelet count started rising and so did our hopes.”
The ATG Therapy failed. Sandhya was completely heartbroken. The family was a mess, emotionally and financially. It was during this time that the doctors offered a final ray of hope. Anuj’s last option was a Haploidentical Bone Marrow Transplant where the donor only needs to be a half-match. His 29-year-old sister is the chosen donor.
The mountain of debt keeps rising…
Anuj and Sandhya are currently in Bhopal - their hometown, and are desperately trying to arrange funds so that they can go back to Indore and initiate the transplant. The repeated rent and travel costs to and from Indore, The ATG injections, the medicines -a strip of which costs roughly Rs. 13,000 each and the ongoing hospital charges have brought them to a Rs. 25 Lakh deficit already. They owe money to almost everyone they know - Anuj’s boss, both their families and most of their friends.
“Just last week, Anuj got an infection in his liver and we had to immediately put him on some extremely strong antibiotics. It’s like the bills never stop piling up while my husband keeps battling one problem after another. I don’t know what to do.”
Anuj has been unemployed since a year now. He used to be a field engineer. His wife, Sandhya is on maternity leave and hasn’t worked for a while either. They need your help to raise the Rs. 15 Lakhs that can save Anuj rapidly depleting health.
“He is so weak that he cannot even hold his newborn. I have never seen him this tired and lost. Anuj was always known for his positive attitude, his will to live life to the fullest. I need your help in getting our old happy-go-lucky Anuj back…”
How You Can Help
Anuj is running out of time as the Haploidentical Bone Marrow Transplant needs to happen by the end of November itself. His body is tired and worn out after the 1 year-long struggle with Bone Marrow Failure. He needs your love and support in beating this affliction before it’s too late.
You can also share his story on Facebook and WhatsApp to help the family reach out to more people like you.