Chennai: A Chennai-based doctor and his wife are fighting for funds to keep their son Subash alive. Five-year-old Subhash suffers from acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
His only hope now is an unrelated stemcell transplant, a procedure that's only available outside India and will cost his parents nearly Rs 1.4 crore, the kind of money that they just can’t afford.
"The time we have is very short. Just 15 to 20 days and we have to go to Singapore because the chord is ready. We are now fighting for funds from everywhere," says Subash’s mother B Sujatha.
Ironically, Subash's father P Balaji - a doctor himself - has already spent over Rs 30 lakh on the treatment.
He has launched a website, approached every one he knows and is planning to sell all that he has.
But all these efforts later, the middle-class family would still fall short by nearly Rs 1 crore.
"That day I felt why I studied medicine, being a doctor I cannot save my own son's life," he rues.
Subash's oncologist Dr T Raja of Apollo Hospitals says nearly 50 to 100 such cases are reported every year in India.
Most families give up because of the costs, but some who've fought have had success stories.
Unrelated stemcell transplants are common in many countries, and if made available in India, it would be half as expensive on families like Subash's.
"Most centres here do related stem cell transplants. So we have the expertise, but the infrastructure, availability of a registry and awareness - I think there's an acute need for these things,” says Raja.
Those are thoughts that little Subash hardly understands. He's busy nurturing a little five-year-old's dreams. "I want to become a pilot," he says.
Subash's parents have already visited a Singapore hospital, they've given blood samples and have even found a suitable donor .
All they need now is nearly Rs 1 crore in the next few days - the only thing that could help them give Subash a chance to make his dream of becoming a pilot into reality.
If you would like to help Subash, call his father Dr P.Balaji at: + 91 9443968838 or +91 9884630342 or donate directly through the website www.savesubash.org