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Leukaemia or blood cancer as we call it, is truly an emperor of all maladies, taking in its clutches people from all age groups. What is worse is the fact that children fall prey to it easily and getting out of it is surely not a child’s play. The history of leukaemia if traced back results in finding the first recorded case which took a 5 year old girl’s life. She is said to have vomited all her red blood cells and she perished at the hands of this horrible disease within 3 days of the first symptoms. This was long back in 1860s. Since then both the disease and research on it has evolved. But the sad fact is that still we are lacking somehow that the disease is flourishing, especially amidst the children up to the age of 14.

                        I had a friend who fell to the clutches of this disease at the tender age of 11. We were new to grade 7 and our summer vacations were approaching when she fell ill and suddenly her platelets and red blood cells count fell drastically. The doctors speculated flu, then malaria, then typhoid but none of the medicines seemed to work. It was a month later that leukaemia in her case was confirmed. To a child with dreams and to parents with hopes it was like moving the earth beneath their feet. She survived somehow the chemo and fought back bravely against cancer. She is leading a happy life today at the age of 19 but somehow the symptoms seem to come back at times. And what must be noticed is that not all kids are lucky like her. There are very high chances of death in case of kids suffering from leukaemia.

This case in my life made me think and read about cancer a bit more and what I closely observed was that the symptoms are something we miss to see until the disease expands its treacherous wings. I read that in leukaemia it’s the bone marrow that gets affected first and it results in the most common symptoms that people tend to ignore. In blood cancer the patient begins to show fatigue, weakness, shortages of breaths, headaches and a pale skin. Some of you might think how is it new. These symptoms are the fore bringers of so many diseases. What most people miss is their presence persistently. My friend had shown these symptoms for over a year before she was actually diagnosed with cancer. She hardly played with us in the sports’ period and was always short of breaths even if she climbed just 10 stairs. She was having a pale skin which no one noticed because somehow many don’t differentiate between what actually is fair tone and a pale skin. In total she was a total pack of the earliest symptoms of leukaemia. What I feel is that had her parents took notice of this early, maybe she would have saved loads of pain she suffered.

 What I believe is that care from the side of parents and other relatives becomes a must. If a person is showing signs of these symptoms for a long time then it becomes mandatory to get them checked because cancer is no longer a rare menace. It has become a thing of past to say that,

 “We have learned nothing about the cause of cancer or its actual nature. We are where the Greeks were.” – Francis Wood (1914)

We have evolved a lot and research has come a long way. It is high time awareness be spread and people take responsibility on their parts to look around their dear ones and get persistent symptoms checked, especially in the case of young kids. A stitch in time can actually save nine when it comes to leukaemia.


Author: Namrata  (Yoddhas Ambassador)

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