Imran, aged 11, Bangladesh

11-year-old Imran is an only child who lives in Noakhali in southern Bangladesh with his parents. Earlier this year he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).  

Imran’s first symptoms were joint pain all over his body and severe back pain. His mother took him to Noakhali Modern Hospital where the doctor gave some painkillers. But there was no progress.  

His doctor repeatedly changed the medication, but there was still no improvement. Imran and his mother made the long journey to Dhaka for further tests. The reports came back normal and as Imran was feeling better, they returned to Noakhali. For a while, everything seemed fine.  

However, after several months had passed, Imran went to visit his grandparents’ house. After coming back in the house from playing badminton he was trembling. He felt tired and didn’t want to eat anything but drank a lot of water. He felt unstable each time after urinating. His mother again took him back to Dhaka and he was eventually referred to the pediatric unit at BSMMU, which is supported by World Child Cancer. 

Imran’s mother didn’t know anything about this type of cancer and what it meant for her child. One day she happened to overhear the doctor. She says. 

 “I felt pain in my heart. I was crying and crying. He is my only son. He is my life! He is my everything!” 

Imran’s father was living in Saudi Arabia at the time but after hearing the news of his only child’s sickness, immediately came back to Bangladesh. The family are relatively well-off, but even so their savings were not enough. The family was not prepared for the shocking news. Imran’s mother said: 

“Once my husband’s income was very good. And he helped other members of our family as much as possible. But now, tension about money becomes the major problem for us” 

Imran is a very good student and last year was second in his class, receiving a scholarship for his academic performance. Now he doesn’t know whether he will be able to attend school again or not. He also loves sports and had received many medals in sporting competitions. Unusually stoic for a boy of his age, he doesn’t cry in front of his mother and always tries to console her. 

 “I know maybe I will die, but my only worry is about my mother. I love her so much.” 

Whilst in hospital. Imran misses his grandparents a lot. He always thinks of his friends and his school and the games they would play in the playground.  

He has now been receiving treatment at BSMMU for a month, supported by World Child Cancer. 

The chemotherapy is making him very weak but there is hope amongst the medical team that the treatment will be a success. He says, 

“I want to be normal again. I want to study again, I want to play again. I want to win medals again! I have so many dreams!” 

Every child deserves a childhood and a future. 1,300 children are expected to develop cancer each year in Bangladesh. Just £25 could pay for accurate diagnosis for one child with cancer, ensuring they are given the correct treatment and dramatically increasing their chances of survival.

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