His eyes showed desperation, like he was holding in far more than he wanted to. Nervously he adjusted his crutches and pulled his green sweater as he made his way into CanSupport’s Day care for the first time. But it didn’t take long for Mankhush to come out of his shell and before you knew it, he was entertaining a crowd of volunteers. He seemed like an ordinary kid filled with hopes and dreams, harbouring no worries.
It was time to meditate and he closed his eyes, tried to breathe and focus but the thirteen year old boy fell asleep. The exhaustion he had faced over time was evident. He seemed so peaceful, as if he’d been needing to sleep for quite some time.
One and a half years ago, Mankhush really was just an ordinary boy from Bihar, a boy filled with energy and life. A boy who’d pass sleep anytime to have fun. But everything changed when a cancerous tumour was located in his shoulder. His life took a different road, one which lead his family to Delhi for his treatment. All alone in a city like Delhi his mother took him from doctor to doctor, making sure he got the best treatment she was capable of providing.
Mankhush remembered each and every visit with each doctor, every single date. Cancer had taken away his chance to study, and these dates though minimal, allowed him to use his brain. He wanted to keep his memory intact because even though he hadn’t been able to go to school after 8th grade, he still aspired to achieve something in life and to get better.
But beneath the strong, hopeful front he put up, he was just a child. A child who was bothered, one who didn’t know if he’d actually get better. And so as he smiled for the world, in reality he was harbouring countless worries. Mankush had been forced to become mature at such a young age, his illness had taken over his life, overshadowing what he wanted. Along with the tremendous physical pain cancer was giving him, it was also making him lose his identity, and his hope. Till a few months ago, the thought of whether he would ever get better or not bothered him more than anything. Being a little mature for his age, Mankhush used to worry a lot. His illness had started to shadow his life in a huge way. His emotional pain was starting to add to his physical pain.
At the day care, Mankhush saw children his age with similar stories, with similar worries and pains. It gave him a chance to find the courage to express those worries out loud and to open up to the new people he was meeting. With the help of other cancer patients and survivors at the Day care, he was able to rebuild hope that he was going to get better.
Today, he is still undergoing treatment, but has gathered enormous amounts of courage and has learnt to fight no matter how hard it may get. He hasn’t let go of his dreams and plans on achieving them. Every Wednesday, he sits in the bus and comes to the Day care along with the few friends he has made over time. They sit, talk, laugh, joke and lift each other’s burdens away. Mankhush has found a family among the volunteers and patients and he appreciates all the support he receives from them.