Few things are more heart-wrenching than to see a young child with an extremely painful physical condition, and not knowing how to fix it.
Such has been the plight of the family of Zailian Kaipeng, a two-year-old who developed a horrifying condition that pushed both of his eyes so far out of their orbit that he could no longer close them. He was in danger of going blind, and his dirt-poor parents, who live in rural India, had no options for him.
After selling the few things they had, including a small plot of land for the equivalent of just $450 and a cow for $145, the boy’s parents, 28-year-old Nerbanglal Kaipeng and his 25-year-old wife Chengmaite, were at a loss and they were “just waiting for him to die.”
As a day laborer in Tripura, in northeastern India, Kaipeng made only $2.25 a day, and that was when he could actually find work.
But miraculously, some journalists heard about the poor boy’s plight and organized a crowdfunding page, which eventually brought in some $13,250, and with that, Zailian was taken by his father and grandmother to a hospital outside of New Delhi, where sadly, he has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
It’s a blood cancer that attacks the white blood cells, and after bringing his eye swelling under control with initial steroid treatment, Zailian is now getting chemotherapy. It’s hard to imagine such a young child enduring so much, but his loving family, who have stayed constantly by his side (his mother had to remain at home with their other children, ages 10 and nine months), have done everything to help him.
For Nerbanglal’s part, he is just incredibly grateful for the financial support of the fundraiser, as he understands his son would have died otherwise.
“A lot of people have come forward to help him. It’s such a blessing to know people like this exist in the world and I cannot thank them enough. Without their help we would not be sitting here with such amazing doctors,” said the boy’s dad.
The head of oncology at the hospital where Zailian is being treated knows there are many hurdles yet to jump. “We suspect he will need chemotherapy sessions for many months to come and then we’ll review his situation. This is not an overnight thing. He has a long road ahead,” said Dr. Randeep Singh.
And sadly, doctors are not yet sure if his sight can be saved or not. Bringing his cancer down is the most important thing to focus on now, they say, and his eyes will be dealt with once that is under control.
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