Basta greets us with a smile despite his tired eyes and drained look. Basta is one of the many children being treated for cancer at Kanti Children’s Hospital (KCH), Nepal, which is supported by World Child Cancer. When we met Basta he was joined by his dad, Ganesh, who looked just as exhausted explaining their ordeal.
Ganesh and his wife, Kabita, first realised something was wrong with Basta when, back in their village, he would regularly become ill and not get better. They took Basta to their local hospital where multiple tests were carried out, but nothing was found. The doctors decided to refer Basta to a hospital in Kathmandu – over 500 miles away from their home in the Doti region. However, the family struggled to afford the costs at this private hospital, so a friend recommended that they go to KCH.
Basta has now been at KCH for a year and despite moving to a public hospital, his parents are still struggling to pay for their son’s treatment. Ganesh has had to take out a number of loans and has sold his land, which, as a farmer, means he no longer has a sustainable source of income. Ganesh now worries that he will not be able to afford the rest of his son’s treatment.
Financial strains are a common problem for many families affected by childhood cancer. Treatment, as well as travel costs can be expensive and become overwhelming. Families who have to travel long distances from their homes also often have to leave their jobs, meaning a lack of funds can quickly become a big problem. This can cause families to abandon treatment which significantly reduces their child’s survival chances. World Child Cancer works to identify and support some of the most vulnerable families, just like Basta’s, to help them pay for treatment and travel so they can afford to continue treatment and ultimately increase their chances of survival. This also means families can spend their money on other, important things – like education.
When we spoke to Basta, he told us about his love for reading and how he hopes to go to school to learn science. He dreams of one day becoming a teacher in the school back home in his village. Ganesh says:
Help a child like Basta, who is just one of the 300,000 children expected to develop cancer this year, follow his dreams and grow into his future. In low-and middle-income countries like Nepal, as few as 10% will survive compared to 80% in high income countries. You can help Close the Cancer Gap by donating today.