Cancer Survivor Turns Fighter
Ritu Bhalla is a two-time cancer survivor. She was first detected with leukemia at the age of 4 and it relapsed at age 11. Her strongest memory of battling the disease is of her parents struggling to get her to the right kind of care at the right time – from crowded OPDs and long queues to trips to several doctors.
She says, “My parents did not know where to get me treated, which doctor to go to and what to do. They took me to AIIMS and we ended up at the wrong department. Several of my tests were conducted at the wrong department. There was no one to guide us.’’ It took them several weeks to get to the right doctors and identify the right treatment. “I knew how hard it was for my parents and I did not want to make it worse for them, so I used to tell my doctor not to give me any pain relief during my chemo sessions. He used to tell the other children how brave I was.’’
Ritu experience with cancer made her strong enough to give back to the cause & join hands with Cankids Kidscan NGO who works for children with cancer and their families across India. She knows only too well how difficult it is to access care and how crucial, timely detection is. She visits OPDs in the Capital’s busy government hospitals and identifies children as well as parents who need assistance with treatment. She has even travelled outside the city to convince parents who often give up mid-way to continue with their child’s treatment. “I want to give a positive message to other children and their parents – this disease can be beaten! If I could survive cancer twice, so can they,’’ says Ritu.