Om Salunkhe, 8yrs, Female, Maharashtra

In middle childhood, Om is a shy and sober boy, with a keen interest in policework. He loves reading about solving crimes and hopes to be a policeman someday. Om’s family of four hails from Malewadi, a small village in Solapur. When he was diagnosed with blood cancer at Sheetal Hospital in Pandharpur, in late February 2018, his family took every measure possible to get Om to Mumbai, at Tata Memorial Hospital; after being referred, for surgery and chemotherapy.

Joining Access Life in March 2018, they feel the environment has had a significant impact on their mental well-being. The peaceful surroundings foster calmer thoughts and go a long way along helping the child. Their favourite bit, perhaps, is the ALAG events. Om looks forward to them everytime he getsthe news. ALAG, or Access Life Arts and Gaana is a recreational initiative which attempts to provide art-based therapy, to supplement the medical care the child receives. Hygienically, Om found that the lack of toilets in his village is concerning and his parents are determined to construct one as soon as they get back.

Om’s father’s biggest hope is for him to complete education and become successful, and have a positive impact on the world someday. He says taking care of your children, providing timely food and medicines, and following the doctor’s instructions is 80% of the problem solved. Meanwhile, Om shoots an imaginary handgun- caught in a thief-chasing daydream.