Bhagya, a spirited 17-year-old, encountered a formidable twist of fate. Prior to turning 13, her life unfolded smoothly, marked by a fervor for dance and academic excellence. Her parents, Ratheesh, a daily wage laborer, and Soumya, a homemaker, were part of an extended family, including Ratheesh’s mother and sister. However, the financial strain from Bhagya’s father’s work made their journey difficult.
During her 9th-grade studies, Bhagya began grappling with severe abdominal pain, abdominal swelling, and overall body edema. A visit to Thrissur Medical College revealed a devastating diagnosis – Ovarian cancer. Medical College directed them to Malabar Cancer Center (MCC), Thalassery. Soumya, initially shattered by the news, swiftly regained composure. Ratheesh and Soumya took their daughter to Malabar Cancer Center, after collecting Rs 25,000, only to realize that the amount fell short even for the recommended tests!
Recognizing the financial constraints, MCC suggested Bhagya’s parents take her to the Regional Cancer Center (RCC), Thiruvananthapuram. However, the financial situation left Bhagya’s parents in despair.
At this juncture, Soumya learned about “Solace” through Bhagya’s teacher, Sariga, at St. Raphael School. Bhagya’s teacher’s mother, Rose Simon, a senior volunteer at Solace’s Thrissur center, advised Soumya to contact Solace Thiruvananthapuram center upon arrival. Despite initial hesitations from past disappointments with other organizations, they decided to give Solace a chance.
Their journey to Thiruvananthapuram involved a train journey, where they faced the challenge of caring for a sick child. After refreshing themselves at the destined railway station, they headed straight to the Solace center. This marked the turning point in Bhagya’s life. Upon reaching the Solace Thiruvananthapuram center, she was registered as a Solace child. Solace promptly assumed all responsibilities for taking her to RCC, providing support for her tests, stay, etc. After tests, RCC recommended an operation to remove her ovary. One can imagine the plight of a 16-year-old girl’s mother who has to decide on removing her daughter’s ovary. Of course, the daughter’s “life” outweighed her “family life” for the mother, and the decision was made to proceed with the surgery.
Solace continued to offer financial and social support throughout her follow-up treatment, even providing her family with a European closet after surgery.
Bhagya’s mother, Soumya, actively engaged in Solace’s Family Strengthening Programme (FSP), acquiring skills like making cushions, paper bags, and shoes to contribute to their daily needs. Bhagya’s elder sister, Bhadra, pursuing Civil Engineering, received educational support from Solace, showcasing academic excellence. Soon, her dream for a job will come true. Bhagya’s younger brother is in the first standard.Now a first-year B.Com student, Bhagya grapples with the ongoing impact of the disease, but Solace’s support fuels her determination to continue with life and education.
This narrative unfolds as a testament to survival, intertwined with the unwavering support provided by Solace.