Nearly five, Shivam has had an eventful first four years of his life. On the cusp of middle childhood, he doesn’t quite know the particularities of his tumour yet. Shivam’s family is a happy, comfortable four- his brother one year younger. From Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, they made an arduous journey across the country searching for a solution.
Shivam was diagnosed with blood cancer, commonly known as leukemia- in March 2017. His family learned of the disease at Kanpur hospital, where they were unsure what ailed him. An explicitly distressing interval was the initial few days in Mumbai, for his family. They had been wandering for days looking for a cure, before they were referred to Tata Hospital; and ran into residential worries after the move. Shortly after, they connected with Access Life, in April. He’s been through two sessions of chemotherapy since. In their opinion, this voyage of sorts has showed them what real life is. The house staff is probably their favourite Access Life wing.
Living together with families embeds a communal sense of belonging, particularly when one meets other children with shared worries. The ‘infection-free environment’ at Access Life, says Shivam’s father, is exactly what a such children need. It places specific importance on hygiene- personal and communal, and is a prerequisite for undisturbed convalescence. Shivam wishes to emulate his current hero, the doctor- wanting to treat patients when he grows up. An imaginative mind, he finds a way to play with almost any object put in front of him; revealing an underlying zeal for life. What is cancer but another road-bump on the mighty adventure that lies ahead?