“This escalator is the devil! Look, how quickly it’s going…” exclaimed Rahima, Rayan’s grandmother
Rayan laughed off his grandmother’s worry, carefully took her hand and helped her step on the escalator. Within seconds Nani Rahima’s demeanour had transformed into that of a 5-year-old’s. “It’s just like a rollercoaster, no?”
Whether it’s teaching his nani how to use a cell phone or explaining new age Bollywood movies, Rayan is the warmest 15-year-old that one could hope for. He is equally dependant on his grandmother as she is on him. He is so calm that noone would ever know that he has been battling cancer for so many years. He shares a very special bond with her nani.
“Growing up, she has saved me from my mom’s scoldings, saved our family from being homeless and she saves me every day with her delicious home-cooked meals that help me survive the harrowing chemotherapy I undergo.”
A recurring battle
Rayan has been battling Bone Cancer since he was 7. After eight years of struggle and patience he was finally declared cancer free only for it to relapse months after his 15th birthday.
“Those 8 years were very chaotic for us. My wife would run from clinic to clinic just to get our son the best treatment possible while I worked overtime at the airport in Abu Dhabi just to be able to keep up with the medical expenses. I longed to be there for my son and my wife. We lost our savings first, sold my wife’s wedding jewellery and eventually, we were forced to also sell our house.”
Navaj and Reshma had put their entire lifetime of savings in building their home in Mumbai. It was the home they saw their children Rayan and little Nushra growing up in, the home they wanted to grow old in.
He is also my son - Nani Rahima
But when the time came to choose between their house and their son, it was an easy choice - for what is a house without a family? And it was family that saved them from being homeless. Ever since Rayan alongwith his mother and sister have been living with their Nani Rahima at her house in Thane, Mumbai.
“The first time Rayan was diagnosed, he underwent countless chemotherapy sessions before he started showing steady improvement. Due to the increased chances of infection, he was homeschooled by his mother who worked as a tutor earlier. The young boy would pass every exam with flying colours. He just wants to make his parents proud.”
All this treatment, love and prayers paid off and Rayan was found for be cancer- free. It seemed like a huge victory for the whole family. They had been through a lot and finally they had a reason to be happy, a reason to celebrate. They also played Rajinikanth’s movies all day since he is Rayan’s all-time favourite. His mother Reshma felt like someone had breathed life into her again. Proud Nani Rahima went around distributing sweets that she made with her own hands to her neighbours.
However, the relief was short lived and a months after Rayan’s 15th birthday, his bone cancer relapsed. It was around the same time that Navaj, Rayan’s father lost his job and had to relocate to Mumbai for work.
“Cancer has tired him inside out and he spends his days puking out whatever we feed him. Not even his nani’s food.”
- Reshma, Rayan’s mother.
Bone Marrow Transplant - The Only Cure
Doctors in Hinduja Hospital are worried due to the severity of Rayan’s cancer. They have advised the family to complete 3 chemotherapy cycles and then get a Bone Marrow Transplant immediately. They are in no position to pay Rs. 25 Lakhs when they have lost everything they owned. They are in a race against time to save their 15-year-old son with absolutely no funds at their disposal but they haven’t lost hope yet. Rayan is a fighter and they are confident that one day he will beat cancer forever with your support.
“Who will ask me to make sheerkhurma (Indian dessert) on Eid? Who will come running to me everytime he scores full marks? Who will copy Rajinikanth’s moves and make me laugh? Who will chat with me endlessly about anything and everything? I can’t even begin to imagine a world without him…”
How You Can Help
Rayan beat Bone Cancer after 8 years of struggle and pain. However, after being cancer free for a mere few weeks his cancer relapsed - right after his 15th birthday. The family has spent lakhs, depleting all their savings, selling off his mother’s jewellery and even losing their home. They have no way of affording the Rs. 25 Lakhs for his Bone Marrow Transplant without which their son will not survive cancer a second time. One contribution from you can help this family save their child. They have nowhere else to go.
You can also share his story on Facebook and WhatsApp and help them reach out to more kind people like you.