Ravi Rahul was an 8 year old who was among the first few children put on support of Aadhar.
This article is a 'shraddhanjali ' for a noble and brave soul.
Ravi first developed swelling and pain in his foot, alongwith fever.His father took him to a well known government hospital where he was investigated and treatment was started for tuberculosis. He was kept on treatment for almost one year but the response was not satisfactory. A repeat biopsy completely changed the diagnosis to Ewings Sarcoma- a type of
bone cancer. He was taken by his parents to Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Hospital. There he was told that the child needed to be started on chemotherapy and this would be followed by surgery. Chemotherapy was started and the estimate for the surgery was Rs.20,000/- . The doctors were looking to remove the tumor completely and expecting a very good prognosis as the tumour was very localized at that time.
After the third chemotherapy the patient just stopped coming for follow-up. At that time we had just started working in Rajiv Gandhi Hospital. The oncologist there Dr.Gauri Kapoor asked us if we could find out what had happened. One volunteer went to the address given and met the father. The father was a schoolteacher and said he did not have Rs.20,000/- so thought it was all pointless to keep going to the hospital.We promised to raise money for the surgery and asked him to again attend the OPD. This time I met Ravi Rahul. Such a bright and sweet child. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to him.Always cheerful and optimistic.
I asked him about his school and found him to be really smart. An eight year old who was studying in the village school but could read the word Ophthalmologist from my card .I was really impressed. Ravi underwent his surgery successfully and I found him cheerful as ever during his post operative stay. Part of his foot had been amputated. He was later fitted with a prothesis.
But the trails and tribulations were not over yet. One fine day Ravi's father suddenly decided he could not cope any longer and just abandoned the family and disappeared. His mother a young lady about 30 yrs of age was just left alone to cope with this mountain of a task of getting treatment for her son.
Fortunately for them her brother-in-law helped a lot by accompanying Ravi to the hospital for treatment. I kept meeting him in the hospital off and on. One day I discovered that this little boy inspite of going through such debilitating treatment, was taking tutions for children smaller than himself to help his mother. She did not know about it. He told me that sometimes he even managed to help older kids in maths. I really felt about two inches tall in front of this lad. My only thought was ..WOW!!!
Ravi made a good recovery and went back to a normal life for about 2-3 years.
Unfortunately the disease came back after a couple of years. Maybe it was due to initial delay in treatment. It is difficult to say. But there were multiple secondaries in the lungs. Chemotherapy was tried again but to no avail. The disease was seen to be progressing. Finally his chemotherapy was stopped after counselling his mother because it was giving him nothing but added pain. Ravi's mother just said that at least she was able to do best possible treatment with the help she got and took him home. It is now about 5 yrs since Ravi has gone but I still remember his face and smile as clearly as if he was standing right in front of me.