A 21-day lockdown might be harsh on many of us as we wonder how to survive one more day in isolation. But it can be especially cruel to those who are literally fighting to live another day due to some illnesses. Four- year-old Noor (name changed), who has blood cancer, falls in the second category.
Every month, she is taken to the Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, all the way from her hometown of Alappuzha, to undergo chemotherapy sessions. But with a nationwide lockdown imposed in March, not only did the hospital cancel Noorâ€™s session, her family ran out of medicines as they could not travel to purchase it.
However, humanity often shines through during tough times. And for Noorâ€™s family, help came in the form of a police officer and his neighbour â€” two young men with barely any relationship to the child. They went out of their way to ensure she got her life-saving medicines in time. On March 31, KP Vishnu, a medical sergeant at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College hospital, rode 150 kms on his bike, across two districts to deliver the medicines to Noorâ€™s family in Alappuzha. Vishnu purchased the medicines using his own money as the family could not afford it on their own. Until that day, Vishnu and Noorâ€™s family did not know each other.
Speaking to TNM, Antony Ratheesh, a civil police officer at the Alappuzha North Station and Vishnuâ€™s neighbour, said, â€śI have known Noorâ€™s family for a few months now. On March 30, her mother called and told me that her daughterâ€™s chemotherapy had been cancelled and that the doctor had asked them to continue taking the medicines. The family had just about enough medicine stock to last till the scheduled session. And now, they could not find the drug anywhere in Alappuzha and did not have the money to take a cab to Thiruvananthapuram.â€ť
Wondering how to help them, Ratheesh reached out to his neighbour Vishnu, who worked at the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. But Vishnu had left for Thiruvananthapuram that night and had planned to stay there for a week, until he completed his duty.
â€śHe had just reached Thiruvananthapuram when I called him. He said he could purchase the medicine from Regional Cancer Center and deliver it till Kollam district. But the very next morning, he changed his mind,â€ť recalls Ratheesh.
â€śVishnu rode 150 kilometres, all the way to Noorâ€™s doorstep and delivered the medicines. I donâ€™t think he slept that night,â€ť Ratheesh adds.
The 32-year-old sergeant, who is a former police officer, stayed back for a day in Alappuzha after delivering the medicines. He left for Thiruvananthapuram the next day.
In between this, help came in the form of one more person who ensured that Noor got the correct medicine.
â€śNoorâ€™s mother had given us a slip of paper with the name of the medicine written on it. She was not aware that this was an old medicine and that the doctor had changed the prescription. Another doctor at Regional Cancer Centre, who knew Noor personally, identified that this was not the right drug. She checked Noorâ€™s file and gave Vishnu the name of the correct medicine,â€ť Ratheesh added.
With the medicines now available to Noor despite the lockdown, her family is beyond overjoyed that help came from the most unexpected quarters.
â€śI think about the two men every time I do my namaz. Allah will always bless them,â€ť Noorâ€™s mother told a Malayalam newspaper.