Shahina has been battling with a rare disease that was diagnosed for the first time in the history of Kerala’s Regional Cancer Center (RCC), the state’s premier cancer care institution located in Thiruvananthapuram.
The 12-year old girl was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in September 2017 and with ImmuneThrombocytopenia (ITP) in April 2018. Shahina is undergoing treatment for leukaemia at RCC and for ITP at Government Medical College, Kozhikode.
The medicine for her treatment draws up expenses of about Rs 70,000 a month and her family, which hails from Thodupuzha in Idukki, is struggling to keep up with the bills.
“It’s one of the rarest of diseases, leukaemia with ITP. The doctors told us that only 150 such cases have been reported in the world and only four such cases have been reported in India. This is the first time in the history of RCC that Leukemia with ITP has been detected,” Shahina’s father Shajahan told TNM.
Shajahan, who worked in tourism-related and construction jobs in the past, quit working after his daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia.
“We had to stay in Thiruvananthapuram for 16 months for the treatment at RCC. After she was diagnosed with ITP, my wife Salma and I would not stay away from our daughter so that she gets round-the-clock attention,” he says.
Shahina was referred to the Medical College in Kozhikode after ITP was diagnosed, as there was no haematologist in RCC.
“The tablet is costly and it costs Rs 14,000 for seven tablets. My daughter gets the benefit of the Cancer Suraksha Scheme and Thalolam scheme of the state government which provide treatment assistance for poor patients. But the medicine, that was prescribed after ITP was also diagnosed, does not fall under any of these schemes and the medicine is not even available in RCC. I have taken a bank loan of Rs 18 lakh and have been managing the treatment expenses with that money, in addition to all the savings we had. But the money is getting over now. However, we don’t let our daughter know about the hardships and are making sure that she is happy,” he says.
Shahina is a ninth standard student in Thodupuzha. In the past year, the family has been taking her to both RCC and the Medical College for treatment. Shahina has an elder brother who passed the tenth grade this year.
Shahina and her family need all the monetary help they can get.
Those interested may contribute to Shajahan AB, Andhra Bank, Thodupuzha Branch, Account Number: 121711100000405, IFSC: ANDB0001217