Son of a farmer, Shriraj was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 4 years. It was while playing at his home, located 100 kilometers away from Pune that his parents realized that there was some abnormal growth on his head. For a few weeks, they thought that the young boy, who was full of energy and enthusiasm to play all day long, might have injured himself. When the growth did not reduce, Shriraj’s parents took him to a nearby hospital. Doctors assured them not to worry as they believed that with the right medication, Shriraj would be fine in no time.
Several weeks passed and unexpectedly one day, Shriraj developed a high fever and his immunity became marginal. He developed tumors on both sides of his neck. Trying to find the right diagnosis and treatment, his family visited a number of doctors across the city. He was finally admitted for a case of Pre B Cell Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in Bharati Hospital with an approximate treatment cost of Rs 6 lacs. This expense was difficult to meet considering his father was the only earning member of the family, and their combined household income was a meager amount of Rs 40,000 per year.
The treatment lasted for 8 months. Undergoing chemotherapy was painful not only for Shriraj but also for his family who felt helpless seeing the agony their young boy was in during treatment. He often had a high fever, trouble in breathing, difficulty in swallowing food or drinking water and frequent infections.
Shriraj’s parents, Pravin and Dhanshree, along with the parents of other pediatric cancer patients who were also from underprivileged backgrounds, would often discuss and exchange information regarding government schemes and NGOs that support patients during and after cancer treatment. It was during one such conversation, that they were referred to YouWeCan Foundation by the family of another child who had received a scholarship from the foundation. After verifying all the necessary documents, doing a background check and completing the due diligence process, Shriraj’s application was approved and he was awarded the YouWeCan Scholarship.
Today, Sriraj is studying in kindergarten in Vidhya Prabhodhini English Medium School, Pune and is beaming with the hope of a cancer-free future. He dreams of becoming a “big – happy – rich man!!!”