On a bright and beautiful summer morning, my adorable daughter Anjali woke up with a limp. She smiled sweetly as she tried to steady herself by holding onto the bedroom wall. Within 30 seconds her walk was normal. I dismissed it as nothing. How could I worry about a limp that disappeared just as quickly as it came on? We were at a lake the day before, and I thought perhaps she had hurt her foot. It felt normal and I was not worried until the next day and the next day as her limp grew worse.
This began our journey with pediatric cancer. Anjali was almost 2 and a half years old. She never complained. She never told me anything hurt. We whisked her around to all the best doctors until I demanded an MRI. I will never forget that day. It is etched in my mind forever. It is a day that changed Anjali’s and my family’s life forever. We went from normal to frightened, devastated, and heartbroken within a couple of hours. The doctors found a mass, a VERY large mass in Anjali’s abdomen. The doctor’s grave face said it all. I sank to my knees sobbing hysterically. I couldn’t breathe, I knew, I just knew it was cancer.
And it was. It was neuroblastoma, stage 4, and it had spread into her bones. My precious Anjali, not yet 3, diagnosed with an aggressive pediatric cancer. How can I tell you how much that changed our lives forever? We were your average family. There was nothing different about us. We lived our lives, every day, like everyone does. Cancer is like that. It takes your normal life and rips it apart. It shatters your heart and your dreams.
Sweet Anjali fought neuroblastoma for 8 months. She gave it everything she had. She fought hard and bravely. She made the best out of everything. She smiled, she joked…and she suffered. After 8 months of treatment, her poor, little body couldn’t take it anymore. Her heart and spirit were strong but her body had went through enough. On May 26, 2010, at 9:50PM, she passed from this life peacefully into the next. Anjali was only 3 years old.
I never saw anyone with a sweeter, kinder soul. She loved everyone. I never saw anyone fight as hard as she did. I really thought she would make it. She was so full of life, fun, and personality! She had a magnificent character. Cancer could never take away her sense of humor! She was so loved by so many people. She even had and still has, her very own army, Anjali’s Army, who prayed, loved, and fought for her every step of the way.
Now Anjali’s backpack she picked out for preschool is empty and is packed away in a cardboard box because it rips my heart out to look at it. She will never go to a sleepover, giggle with teenage friends, learn to drive a car, bake cookies, or graduate from college. She will never get married and have a daughter of her own. She was robbed. My entire family was robbed. Anjali has a brother, Krish, who is 5 years old. He misses her terribly.and says Anjali is his Angel now.
Anjali was only 3 years old. She deserved to live a long life but cancer stole her from this Earth. We NEED to do whatever we can to find a CURE! We need to buy cookies and hold bake sales so other children have a chance to grow up, strong and healthy! We need better treatment options. Our kids deserve to be kids. It is too late for my daughter but there are thousands of brave and beautiful children in this world, waiting silently and hopefully, who deserve to have a LIFE…a CHILDHOOD!
Anjali deserved to live. Let us make it possible for other kids with pediatric cancer to have a long life…a life that has quality, happiness, and hope! When you buy a cookie or hold a bake sale, you are really giving a child hope.