Meet Pranta

We met Pranta and his mother, Salma, on the childhood cancer ward in Dhaka’s BSMMU which is supported by World Child Cancer. The ward was small, cramped, and dark with no windows. This was not a childhood cancer unit as we know it in the UK.

Pranta had a large bandage around his leg, at just two years old he has been through more than most despite his tender years.

“He was just a small baby when he developed a lump in his leg. We waited a while to see if it would heal itself but when it didn’t, we visited our local medical centre. It was here that we were first told Pranta had a tumor.”

Salma paused as she told us this, the memories of first being told about her son’s cancer came flooding back. She told us that she used to cry a lot but with time she has learned to manage her emotions to be strong for Pranta whilst they stay at hospital.

Being told your child has cancer brings enormous pressures and can put a strain on the entire family. Families like Pranta’s have to travel enormous distances to hospital, somehow find the money to pay for treatment and still find time to be strong for their child; leading to many families being forced to abandon their treatment.

World Child Cancer is working to change this by identifying and supporting vulnerable families, providing emotional and financial support to give them the confidence to complete treatment, and ultimately increase survival rates for children with cancer.

After Prantia’s diagnosis, Salma was told he would have to be operated on to remove his tumor;

“I was so scared and fearful for my baby.”

The operation was unsuccessful as the tumor remained, Salma began to look elsewhere for support and was eventually referred to BSMMU. As well as the 12 hour journey to hospital, she was told the costs of treatment would amount to 50,000 Taka ($459), money the family simply could not afford. The combination of ineffective treatment, distance to hospital and mounting costs of treatment meant Pranta had to wait three months between his initial diagnosis before finally reaching BSMMU.

“We are here now and I am praying for my son, I speak to the doctors and nurses but we mothers support each other on the ward. The beds are very close together, so we talk, being able to talk with someone in our position does not change anything but it helps somehow.”

A donation of $4 pays for a parent to attend a support group session to help them cope with the emotional impacts of being told your child has cancer. This could help give a parent the support and encourgement to ensure their child completes treatment.

Children of today are the leaders and pioneers of tomorrow. Many children are robbed of their future each year by curable forms of cancer but with your support we can change this. By donating today, you can help train more healthcare professionals, empower local nurses and support some of the poorest and most vulnerable families in the world, just like Pranta’s. Each gift you make will be doubled by the UK Government your support will go twice as far.