School cuts celebrations to save student with cancer

Teachers of a 4-year-old, who has been detected with blood cancer, will refrain from spending on functions, until they collect Rs 4 lakh for his treatment

The teachers of a municipal school in Lower Parel have decided to forswear all celebrations this year, be it birthdays or festivals. Instead of spending on the revelries, they want to save up for one of their students who has been detected with a terminal disease.

There's still hope: Suraj, with mother, Rekha at their home behind Arthur
Road jail. pic/shadab khan

Four-year-old Suraj Kadukar was detected with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer, in the last week of August, at Tata Hospital. But his father, Bhaskar, who works with a private company in the city, cannot afford his treatment, which costs Rs 4 lakh.

After Bhaskar approached the faculty of Mumbai Public School (MPS) where Suraj studies in kindergarten, the teachers were moved. "I have money for my son's funeral, but not for his treatment," the father told them. That is when the teachers at MPS, which is handled by an NGO, decided to help the child.

Rahul Suvarna, one of the NGO workers which is in-charge of Suraj's school, said, "I was upset when I heard of their predicament. All teachers decided not to celebrate festivals, so we could save money for his treatment. Most of the teachers have agreed to this. I also contacted Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan education department in Dadar, and they assured us financial help."

Suraj's health started deteriorating in July. He became extremely weak and began vomiting blood, and was  admitted to Nair hospital. He was referred to Tata, where the bad news assaulted the family.

Rekha, his mother, said, "The teachers came to know of his ailment when he stopped going to school. His academic year started in June. In July, he got the fever. But he attended classes nonetheless. But later he couldn't bare the weakness despite the medication."

MPS has 60 outlets in the city, and the Ngo that operates the Lower Parel branch has appealed to all to chip in. Rashmi Chainani, principal of MPS, Dadar said, "It's a good idea to collect money for Suraj in such a way. I personally don't mind contributing for him. I appeal that everyone should come forward and help Suraj."

Subhash Ibitwar, another social worker working with the school, said, "When I learnt that Suraj has been detected with cancer, I took time out to take him to different hospitals. If I cannot help him financially, I will devote my time for him as much as I can."

As Suraj lies in bed in his house behind Arthur Road jail, his father is doing what he can to gather the funds. "I went to my native place to get some documents regarding my income, so that I can appeal to more people for financial help," he said.

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