A six-year-old girl in India suffering from cancer has been left blinded and in agony with protruding and bleeding eyes.
The heartbreaking pictures of Dhanika Tripura show how extreme her condition has become in just six weeks.
Her desperate parents are now pleading for help after their ‘healthy’ and ‘joyful’ daughter deteriorated after suddenly suffering with itchy eyes in November.
Dhanika was taken to several local doctors in her remote village but they have just basic facilities and she was just given painkillers, paracetamol and anti-allergy tablets, and sent home.
The family, from a small village in Tripura, north-eastern India, could not afford to get her specialist help – and the girl’s prognosis looked extremely poor.
Now a charity has stepped in to help, but medics face a race against time and her chance of survival is only about 10 per cent. Dhanika’s parents still need further funds.
These heartbreaking pictures of Dhanika Tripura show how extreme her condition is
Her father, Dhanya Kumar Tripura, 45, works as a daily wage labourer, and earns approximately Rs 1,000 (£10) a month. Her mother, Shashi Bala, 40, is a housewife who stays at home to looks after their four children.
Dhanya said: ‘Her condition brings tears to my eyes. I cannot even look into her eyes and talk to her anymore. Her eyes look so horrible.
‘Her pain and condition breaks my heart and as a father it is tragic to see a child suffering like this.’
‘We worry for her life’
Dhanya says his daughter’s small rash and itching got worse and she developed a fever.
He said: ‘She’d often complain of itching in her eyes and rub them often. Her eyes started swelling slowly and eventually grew to such a big size.
‘We took her to several doctors in our village but none could help. This all started approximately 45 days back and within no time her condition has increased to a level that we now worry for her life.’
Dhanika, who has never been to school due to her family’s poverty, was eventually taken to Agartala Government Medical College and Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital in New Delhi where doctors diagnosed her with acute lymphocytic leukemia.
The main treatment for this type of blood cancer is chemotherapy. Sufferers might also have targeted cancer drug or steroids.
She was a ‘healthy’ girl but deteriorated after suffering with itchy eyes just 6 weeks ago
Her family too poor to afford help, the 6-year-old was sent away with only painkillers
WHAT IS ACUTE LYMPHOCYTIC LEUKEMIA?
Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a cancer of the white blood cells. It is also known as acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
All white blood cells are made in the bone marrow.
Normally, white blood cells develop, repair and reproduce in an orderly and controlled way.
But in leukaemia, the process gets out of control and the cells continue to divide in the bone marrow, but do not mature.
These immature dividing cells fill up the bone marrow and stop it from making healthy blood cells.
As the leukaemia cells fail to mature, they cannot work properly. This can lead to infections and anemia.
Chronic forms of the disease tend to affect adults and are very rare in children.
ALL is specifically a cancer of the immature lymphocytes, called lymphoblasts or blast cells.
The causes of ALL are not yet known but studies have found identical twins and brothers and sister are at an increased risk of the disease.
Source: Macmillan Cancer Support
A local community group the United Tiprasa Forum became aware about Dhanika’s condition and have stepped in to help.
Sajal Debbarma, 36, from the United Tiprasa Forum UTP), said: ‘I came to know about this girl through a social media group and really wanted to help her.
‘We went up to see her and were shocked by her condition. Her family did not even have proper knowledge where to go and who to approach, let alone getting her treatment done.
‘We brought her to Agartala then and got her treatment started there. But we have limited funds, we hope people come forward to help this little girl get some help.’
After her diagnosis, Dhanika was referred to Dr Bhubhneshwar Barooah Cancer Institute, in Guwahati, approximately 550km (963 miles) from Agartala, where she is being treated.
Medical oncologist Dr Munilima Hazarika said: ‘Her condition is still critical. We have started the chemotherapy a few days ago but her survival chances are only about 10 per cent.
She is really weak and with chemotherapy, we expect that her hemoglobin and platelets would further decrease which is a risk. We need at least 30 blood donors for her to keep her treatment going.’
Now a charity has stepped in to help – but her parents still need further funds
She has started chemotherapy but her chance of survival is only about 10%
Dhanya is pleading for help to save his daughter and a fundraising page has been set up
Over the last 45 days, Dhanika has lost around 10kg (22lbs) and now weighs 14kg (30lbs), while she earlier weighed about 25kg (55lbs).
Dhanya is pleading for help to save his daughter.
‘I am not educated at all. I am so poor that I could not even send my children to school.
‘I have done everything I could but still her survival chances seem low.
‘I have no money for her treatment but some people have volunteered to help my daughter. I owe my life to all of them.’
To help Dhanika, you can donate here.
INDIAN TODDLER, 2, WITH PROTRUDING EYES LOST FIGHT
A toddler from India with protruding eyes who was slowly going blind until generous donations from around the world funded treatment has sadly died.
The plight of Zailian Kaipeng hit international headlines two months ago and touched hearts across the globe with more than £10,000 poured in to save the boy.
The boy was in ‘constant pain’ with his swollen eyes since he was two months old
The two-year-old had been ‘constant pain’ with his swollen eyes since he was two months old but his parents were too poor to fund treatment. After finally getting medical attention, he was diagnosed with blood cancer last month and began chemotherapy.
But the boy caught an infection late last week which turned into pneumonia, and he lost his battle last Saturday.
His father, Neirbanglal Kaipeng, 28, a daily labourer, said: ‘I’m shattered. My child has left me. Despite so much hard work by everyone, he is gone. It is devastating.’