The world came crashing around M. Gopi, a cab driver from Royapuram, when his one-year-old boy Kishore was diagnosed with brain tumour four years ago.

Kishore has since undergone surgery to remove the tumour, and chemotherapy. For his parents, it was sheer joy to see their little one chasing balloons on Wednesday during a function to honour cancer survivors and their families at Sri Ramachandra Hospital.

Money is often the biggest concern for families battling cancer. Anita Ramesh, head of oncology at the hospital, said, “Though the cost of paediatric dosage is low, the treatment is still expensive.”

Gopi spent Rs. 6 lakh on Kishore’s treatment. “I took loans from friends and family. I am repaying it now and have a long way to go,” said Gopi.

Aarthi’s father, A. Ramasubramanian, an accountant in a private firm, borrowed from friends and family. “By the time we learnt there was a possibility to apply for a loan, it was too late. It would have covered at least part of the treatment cost but by then, the surgery had been completed,” he said.

“The rule is we must apply for financial assistance before surgery. We did not have that much time. The surgery was finalised within 15 days of her being diagnosed with tumour,” he said.

Though funds come to the hospital from the Prime Minister’s Relief Yojana and the Chief Minister’s Relief Scheme, the best thing to have happened to such patients is the CM’s health insurance scheme, said doctors.

“For the past three years, it has been easier to treat indigent patients as a good portion of their treatment is covered under the scheme,” Dr. Ramesh said.

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