“I’m too young to die”: A boy’s battle with Leukaemia
Almost 1000 new cases of leukaemia are diagnosed every year, most of these in children. Treatment involves replacing the diseased bone marrow, with new, matching bone marrow from a donor. This insert shows 11 year old Rahul Singh who is still unable to find a match.
Rahul Singh might look like an ordinary 11 year old boy, but he’s been battling cancer of the blood cells since the age of 3. It’s called leukaemia and he needs a bone marrow transplant to survive.
I feel very scared that I have this leukaemia for the second time now, and my family are not happy at all. The day I got this leukaemia I was crying a lot. And I was saying I don’t want to have this again and my family said don’t cry and if you just have this thing out of your body then you will always feel good.
The back of my spine was paining a lot, like some hammers and bricks are breaking my back. After that it was paining for a lot and I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t feel my arms and had to use a wheelchair. And that’s how they found out that I had leukaemia in the back of my spine, the entire spine.
His disease makes him different to other boys. The treatment makes him lose his hair and because his body is too weak to fight off ordinary infections, he can’t play in the dirt or with other children.
Three times now I’ve lost my hair. The first time I lost my hair was when I go this leukaemia. I feel a bit stupid and that’s why I had to wear a cap so that people can’t see that I don’t have hair.
When I was small I couldn’t go anywhere. I was like staying in hospital, couldn’t go out and had to stay inside the house for the rest of my days and months. Can’t go out like shopping or stuff. I had to stay inside. I could move anywhere but inside the house only.
Looking back over the years, the disease has changed him and he dreams of an ordinary life without leukaemia.
I’m just really scared about this leukaemia. Even children can get scared about it also. Children can die of this disease, but some can survive also.
I want to be better like everybody else. And normal like everybody else. I don’t want to have this disease ever again and that’s all I want.
Rahul has spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals, an experience that forced him to think a lot about life and death.
I hate hospitals because of the people who come in late at night in the ambulance. It makes me feel bad that people die. Even children also die. It just makes me different.
I don’t even know what to do. Must I choose life or death? My choice is I’m choosing life. I don’t want to die. I’m too young to die.