Ritu is just like any other girl aged two years. She attempts to sing and dance and is full of pranks. But, the needle marks on her right hand point out the ordeal Ritu and her twin sister Rishika are going through. Both are undergoing treatment for blood cancer at a city hospital.
Daughters of S. Raju, a worker in the packing section of a hosiery unit in Tirupur, the twins recently celebrated their second birthday by cutting the cake at the free ward for paediatric cancer cases at Sri Ramakrishna Institute of Oncology and Research.
Frequent bouts of fever and a steep decline in the platelet count led to the discovery of blood cancer in Ritu. After the initial round of treatment in Erode, she was admitted to the oncology institute. A few weeks later, Rishika had a nose bleed. Tests found she too had blood cancer.
“We are virtually living in this ward for the last seven months. Out of the Rs.7,000 monthly income my husband gets, Rs.2,000 goes for house rent alone. It is very difficult to manage the treatment and other expense with whatever is left,” the children's mother R. Suseela says.