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A model of courage and optimism

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T.S. Barath Prassana.
T.S. Barath Prassana.

Meera Srinivasan

Barath, a survivor of Burkitt's Lymphoma, is his school's topper in the Class 12 exams.

CHENNAI: Barath Prassana, a student of Jaigopal Garodia Hindu Vidyalaya, scored 1,150 marks in his Class Twelve examinations and is the school topper. But there's more than just swotting science and maths to this 17-year-old. Besides setting an example for other students, he is an inspiration to dejected patients and shatters popular myths about cancer.

Barath is a survivor of Burkitt's Lymphoma (cancer of the lymph glands). When he was in Class Ten, he complained of acute stomach pain. His family didn't expect it to be something serious. Following a series of tests, the condition was diagnosed and then began the battle, which he won with courage, optimism and discipline.

Barath is now completely cured. "I did miss a few days of school," he says, underplaying his condition, "but I was determined not to compromise on academics." The bubbly teenager, who scored 89 per cent in his tenth (with 96 per cent in the core subjects), attributes his good performance to teachers who came home and taught him.

The days in hospital were difficult. His father T.V. Shreeder, a chartered accountant, says they had to endure a lot of pain and financial pressure. "With the blessings of the Almighty and support from our relatives and friends we came out of the crisis," says his mother Suseela.

Barath ensured he got his daily share of playing and fighting with his sister Ayswarya even in hospital. He attended school regularly from the next academic year. He has decided to take up a course in biotechnology.

Pat for family

His principal Girija Seshadri says: "He worked very sincerely, coping well with all the side-effects of chemotherapy. His family played a major role in cheering him up." Recalls Dr. Revathi Raj, paediatric haematologist, Apollo Hospitals, who treated Barath: "He was a very chirpy and inquisitive child. He wanted everything discussed with him openly. We were very honest with him about the side-effects and he picked up the courage to face them."

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