When 13-year-old Santhosh received a letter with test results telling him that he had cancer, he was scared to die.

But rather than be consumed with fear for himself, the young teenager from India was more concerned about how his parents would take the news. On his fundraising page, Santhosh said:

“We have lost my Grand-mother to cancer and now it has attacked me. I hope I don’t die so soon. I don’t want to let my family down.”

Santhosh, for unknown reasons, typically stayed at a hostel about 300 miles away from his parents. When he returned home on vacation in the summer, complaining of “mild neck pain.” The persistent pain led him to a doctor, who prescribed painkillers. But nothing took the pain away.

Screenshot/Milaap

The teenager wanted a second opinion, so his uncle brought him to Bangalore from where Santhosh later received the devastating news. He said:

“I told my uncle not to tell anyone about Cancer. My mother knows I am sick but has no idea that I am suffering from Cancer.”

Santhosh’s father, a farmer, has recently learned of the true nature of his son’s illness. Unfortunately, due to the scarcity of rain in the region, he has suffered a huge loss in agriculture. Before his son got sick, he was in debt, his savings were “exhausted.”

Santhosh requires a bone marrow transplant for survival. The tests alone to find a match cost approximately 1.5 million rupees, or $23,430. On top of that, the surgery itself is estimated to cost 15 million rupees, or $234,000.

His uncle, Srinivas, described his nephew:

“His platelet count has gone down drastically. He has become very weak but he puts up a strong face for the family. He is a brilliant student and very good in sports as well, once a champion basketball player in school. Now? He is not even able to walk!”

Santhosh and his family have turned to crowdfunding in order to save up for his treatment.

Screenshot/Milaap

Santhosh is not ready to give up yet. He wants to live for his parents — he strives to get a job and buy a house for his parents. Santhosh acknowledged that his parents have “seen a lot of trouble in life” and he feels “guilty for making it worse.” He said:

“I want to continue studies and make my parents happy but I hope Cancer doesn’t kill me like it killed my Grand-mother.”

To donate to Santhosh’s life-saving surgery, visit his fundraising page at Milaap.org.

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