Bonds that shine: Sisters polish shoes for ailing brotherAugust 12th, 2010 - 11:35 am ICT by IANS
By Asit Srivastava
Kanpur, Aug 12 (IANS) Their heads bent in concentration as they furiously polish shoes on a roadside in this Uttar Pradesh city, the two young girls are extraordinary profiles of hope in the face of all odds. Shrishti and Muskan have just one mission - to somehow collect Rs.20 lakh for their teenage brother suffering from a rare blood disorder.
The task is immense, but so is their will. Carrying a placard saying “Mere bhai ko bachao (Save my brother)”, Shrishti, 14, and Muskan, 9, roam the streets, pleading with people to get their shoes polished.
Daughters of an automobile mechanic, they have been polishing shoes for several weeks to generate the money required for the treatment of their ailing 13-year-old brother Anuj, who suffers from aplastic anaemia.
The disease, which can lead to unstoppable bleeding, is a condition when the body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough new blood cells that results in a number of health problems. Severe aplastic anaemia can even cause death.
Anuj is currently admitted in the J.L. Rohatagi hospital in Kanpur, 80 km from Lucknow.
Soldiering away through the day, the two sisters probably don’t realise that polishing shoes may not go very far in collecting the money, and every rupee earned is enough to bring smiles on their faces and keep their hopes alive.
“I want to take my brother home as early as possible…I will collect the money and give it to the doctors, who will treat my brother,” Muskan told IANS.
The children’s father, 43-year-old Manish Behl, is very proud of his daughters.
“The treatment advised by the doctors for my son involves a bone marrow transplant that will require around Rs.20 lakh. My daughters are well aware that their father is not in a position to bear the treatment cost alone and are making efforts to collect the money.”
“Even though I know that they will never be in a position to collect such a hefty amount, their determination and hard work makes me think positive. Being a father of two such girls is really a privilege for me. I am proud of them,” added Behl, a resident of the Khalisi line area in Kanpur.
Shrishti and Muskan leave for work every day after returning from school and come back only late evening.
“They go to bus stands, railway station and other public places to polish shoes,”
said Behl, who is barely able to make both ends meet.
“They tell me that several people ask them about their brother after reading the placard. Some people are moved by their plight and even give them Rs.50 or Rs.100,” he added.
Anuj was diagnosed with the disease when he was just three months old.
“We all were shattered at that time. However, I managed his treatment by mortgaging valuables left by my ancestors and my wife’s jewellery,” the father said.
“I consulted a number of doctors in Uttar Pradesh and outside. Anuj’s condition started improving with the treatment of a Mumbai-based doctor, who said Anuj may require blood transfusion every five-six months and also need to take some medicines,” he added.
Behl, who had already spent around Rs.12-14 lakh on the treatment, was later told by doctors that bone marrow transplant was the only way to save his son’s life.
“I have gone through the medical reports. He needs to be admitted in a multi-specialty hospital, where he could undergo bone-marrow transplant,” A.K. Pandey, who is at present treating the boy at the J.L. Rohatagi hospital, told IANS.
“We could only put him on a life-support system so that his condition remains stable.”
Inspired by the spirit the family has shown in the face of such a crisis, several NGOs and locals have come forward to help.
“I have managed to collect Rs.2,000 for the girls…Rs.20 lakh is not a a small amount, but collecting it is not impossible if people from all walks of life come forward to help the family,” said Zafar Hussain, who owns a garments’ shop in Kanpur.
(Asit Srivastava can be contacted at email@example.com)
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Tags: anuj, aplastic anaemia, automobile mechanic, behl, bhai, blood cells, blood disorder, bone marrow transplant, lakh, muskan, new blood, placard, polishing shoes, rare blood disorder, soldiering, srivastava, teenage brother, two sisters, uttar pradesh city, young girls