For the Chougules from Naigaon, Vasai, last November was the happiest time of their lives. Kavita Chougule had just given birth to baby Divyanka. “I can’t explain how ecstatic we were after Divyanka was born. Our family was more than complete. She is the angel we had always wished for,” said Youvraj, her husband.
Life took a rude turn, a week after Divyanka’s birth. She became breathless and her anxious parents rushed her to the ICU. Tests revealed the infant had a heart defect since birth, and she needed a surgery immediately. The Chougules made all the arrangements for the surgery, and it was done at a popular hospital in Mumbai.
Just when they thought trying times were over, this March, Kavita was diagnosed with blood cancer. “Kavita is strong willed. She is holding up well with chemotherapy, but she needs to undergo bone marrow transplant. Timely intervention can save her,” said Dr Shyam A. Rathi, consultant haematologist and haemato-oncologist, Bombay Hospital.
Time is short, and Youvraj is doing everything possible to keep his family afloat. Bone marrow transplant surgery costs around Rs14 lakh, a sum that Youvraj said is too steep for him to raise. The Chougules have another impending surgery to take care of. Divyanka has been advised another heart surgery, which will cost around Rs1.5 lakh.
“I feel completely helpless,” said a teary-eyed Youvraj. “I have sold all the family jewellery and some land that we had to fund my wife’s and daughter’s treatment. I am a salaried man. Raising the sum for both surgeries is way beyond my reach,” he added.
Youvraj has been employed with PCI, a pest control agency, for the past eight years, and his only source of aid, so far, has been the company. “Youvraj is an honest and hardworking employee. We have done as much as we could for him. But we need more help and support for the young family,” said Priyadarshini Sule, assistant vice-president, HR, PCI.
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