BANGALORE – Rheamol (aka Sherin Sara Alexander), is a sprightly 13-year-old, fighting for her life. A member of the St Mary’s Orthodox Valiyapally, Jalahalli, Bangalore, this exceptional child is the daughter of Mr Alexander Panicker.
When all other kids are out in school and playful, this kid is on chemotherapy and transplant at an young age. Currently, Rheamol is undergoing treatment for cancer – or relapsed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at the Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital near Bangalore. Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is a form of leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells which is characterised by excess lymphoblasts.
Rheamol was diagnosed at the age of six and has been undergoing various treatments since then, including chemotherapy for the past 7 years at the hospital on the outskirts of Bangalore. Her only restorative treatment for survival is a Bone Marrow Transplant.
Dr Sharat Damodar, consultant haematologist and head of Bone Marrow Transplant unit at the Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital says the only curative treatment is a bone marrow transplant since Rheamol has no HLA matching sibling and is planned for cord blood transplant. The approximate cost of the bone marrow transplant is Rs 8 lakhs while the approximate cost of the bone marrow treatment itself is Rs 10.50 lakhs in the absence of any major complications.
Rev Fr Iype P Alex, Vicar, St Mary’s Orthodox Valiyapaly, Bangalore, in his recommendatory letter to former American Diocese Metropolitan HG Mathews Mar Barnabas requested possible financial support for her treatment.
HH the Catholicos and Bangalore Diocese Metropolitan Dr Abraham Mar Seraphim have also been informed and requested them to pray for Rheamol.
Anna George, Rheamol’s niece from New York, who is spearheading the fund raise along with others says: “The family and their relatives have spent huge amount for her treatment for the last 7 years. Now as we are falling short of the required funds, we are seeking financial assistance in the form of donations, in assisting with her treatment and recovery process. Any contribution
towards these expenses would be appreciated and your support will help ensure that Rheamol receives the appropriate care that she desperately needs urgently.”
Well-wishers have generously donated to her cause and so far collected $5,333 after posting in ICON. But still more needs to be done. They need to raise another $1,700 more to make it around $7,000 (about Rs 3 lakh). If 85 individuals contribute to give $20 each, this goal is easily achievable, they say. Donations will be acceptable for one more week, according to ICON moderators.
Anna, has this update on Rheamol: The most daunting aspect has been the visible changes she has had to accept post chemotherapies and transplants. Visible changes, such as skin problems and hair loss, have directly affected her self-esteem and made her more self-conscious and embarrassed about her appearance.
“She wears a hat all day long whether at school or at home, along with a mask as instructed by her physicians to protect her from the environment, due to lack of immunity. The additional reality, where her peers at school look at her differently, has only heightened her sense of insecurity. Her long absence from school have always made her anxious about falling behind and fitting in when she returned to school. As a result she is unable to build a social circle just as other kids and is shy, timid and reserved. Now, she is forced to miss out on her classes due to ill-health and hospitalisation. “In spite of all this she has been a fighter and a pinnacle of strength in everyone’s eyes, she adds.
Please do remember her in your daily prayers.
How can you be of help?
Make direct payement to:
Sherin S Alexander (Rheamol’s official name)
Account #: 093701001389,
IFSC/NEFT Code: ICIC0000937
New Bel Road Branch, Bangalore