This is a story about a girl, Sanjana Thakre. She is 8 years of age and was recently diagnosed with Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma, a type of cancer. She is from Narli Pada, Palghar District and belongs to a tribal area of the Warli community. Her family consists of 3 members— Mother, Ladku Thakre, 23 years, a homemaker; Father, Laxman Thakre, 25 years old, a fisherman and a 2 years old brother, Sahil Thakre. They speak a language called Warli. Sanjana is one of our beneficiaries who has very bravely completed her 5th Chemo Cycle under the supervision of Dr.Nirmal Raut. She is still under treatment.
When she came to the city, she visited Holy Spirit Hospital to get a diagnosis and treatment. Once we reached there we observed that neither she nor her family could communicate with the others due to language barrier. It was time to intervene. HOPE, one of Mumbai Smiles projects deals with cancer patients and provides them with psycho-social support. We’ve realised that before financial support gets in the way of treatment, it’s the need for mental stability which can be a hindrance. This kind of support that is extended to family and the patient has proven to be very effective while fighting this dreadful disease.
Another important area of this project is Home Visits. This allows us to better understand their socio-economic status and in turn allowing us to form a better strategy of approach in order to help them. On the 14th of August, we decided to visit Sanjana’s house. This is done to provide psychological and a comprehensive social support to the patient and the family. Upon reaching there we observed that their living conditions were minimal which included a house made of hardly any roof support and a Chullah made of out of mud. With no education to back them up, they are totally unaware of government schemes that are specially formed for their development.
This is why we believe Home Visits to be of extreme importance as only when we are there do we truly understand their situation and provide support accordingly. What one should understand that these nuances of life, of providing counselling and making them indulge in recreational activities acts as a reinforcement to valiantly move forward and fight this disease and shortcomings that arise due to it. They were moved and genuinely happy for adding this personal touch to their story. Sanjana is an exceptional girl and we wish and hope for her speedy recovery.