Finally! Six months and 10 days after SUNDAY MiD DAY first reported the tragic story of 15-month-old Anvi Pednekar who needed a bone marrow transplant but her parents didn’t have either the money or a donor to save their daughter, the baby girl from Mumbai underwent a life-saving surgery in Bangalore.
Her elated parents Ruchita and Rupesh told SUNDAY MiD DAY that Anvi had found a German donor and underwent the bone marrow transplant on June 12. She is now in Bangalore, receiving treatment and hopefully, on her way to a full recovery. “She is under observation post the transplant. There were many hurdles but we have crossed those,” Ruchita said.
Anvi was admitted to the Narayana Hrudayalaya in Bangalore on April 27. “We received overwhelming support after Sunday MiDDAY highlighted the plight of my daughter on December 2. People from all over the world helped us by donating over Rs 17 lakh,” said the mother. Apart from travel expenses the family also gave Rs 2.90 lakhs to an American agency as initial search management charges for the donor, and another R2 lakhs after Anvi develoved a chest infection. “We initially thought the transplant was impossible. There was a moment when we thought we would have to return to Mumbai,” said an emotional Ruchita.
But just as they feared all was lost after failing to find donors in India or even in the USA, a social networking group from Cary, NC USA, highlighted Anvi’s plight on their website and collected around $15,000 for the girl. More importantly, her story reached US and European shores. “After this, things started changing again and we finally had enough money to transport the stem cells of a donor from Germany,” she said.
With the bone marrow transplant done, Anvi will be kept in the transplant room for another month or so. Now she is under intensive care in the hospital and her health is constantly being monitored by a team of experts including Dr. Sunil Bhat MD, (Consultant Pediatrics Hematology, Oncology and Blood and Marrow transplantation), Dr Shobha Badiger, (consulting Pediatric Hemato-Oncology expert) and Dr Sharat Damodar, who is also a hematologist and heads the bone marrow transplant unit.
Speaking to SMD Dr Bhat said, “The transplant happened a fortnight ago and so far, Anvi is doing good and has not shown any serious post-transplant complications. There is a gradual increase in the White Blood Cells formation. The next few days will be very crucial for us to monitor her to check if there is any infection and also if her body is increasing the WBC counts.”
Parents thank well wishers
“We are happy that by god’s grace and everyone’s prayers and blessings, she is doing better. Right now we have R5 lakh in hand which we want to reserve for Anvi’s post transplant medications, which will be required after her discharge. She will be under medication for a year so we will have to save this amount,” the mother said.