Let’s #throwback for a quick minute to when you were 10 years old.
If you had to think of your most pressing concern at the time, it probably revolved around the unjust equilibrium of your study/play time. That is a valid concern to have, no doubt. Many 10-year-olds have it.
But there are children around you to whom concerns like that would be a dream come true. Who are engulfed in thoughts of how much longer they can live. How they can fight the day. If they will ever have the chance to worry about their homework or play again. And it’s not just a few children.
50,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in India.
This is the story of Reshma, who was 10 years old when she was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer.
She had to undergo bone surgery and chemotherapy but her tiny and fragile body was in no way ready for such intense treatment. Yes, treatment can be exhausting and painful too. Especially that of cancer. Reshma had no strength left in her hands and could not walk without a walker. After four months of her treatment, she only got worse.
Like Reshma, 90% of children who go to government hospitals for treatment of cancer are from poor families. 80% of them are malnourished at diagnosis.
Their bodies are not even equipped to function normally. Expecting them to wage a war against cancer in that physical condition is cruel.
Reshma stopped interacting much with those around her and began to withdraw into herself. She was weak, in pain and forgetting the last time she felt normal. She had lost hope of reaching there again.
Right around then, Cuddles discovered Reshma. They enrolled her in their program and began to give her a high-calorie protein-rich diet. They worked with her to help her build the strength to accept the strong treatment that she needed.
A Fighting Chance
Without nutrition, the body reacts to chemotherapy like it is being poisoned. About 4,000 children in India abandon treatment due to this every year.
This drop out rate has come down by 86% in TATA Memorial Hospital since Cuddles came on board and made nutrition a part of their treatment plan. But there is still a lot to be done.
If a child is underweight, the needed dosages of chemotherapy cannot be given to them. This reduces the chances of cure by 30% as compared to a well-nourished child.
But Reshma’s fate was better than those grim numbers. With the help of Cuddles, she gained weight and began to restore herself over time. She is still undergoing her treatment but now has a real shot at winning.
They work across 19 hospitals in 10 Indian cities and impact the lives of 35000 children with cancer every year.
Your help will give these children the food and nutrition their bodies and minds needs during their cancer treatment. Are you on the team to feed their #HungerForLife?