Eighteen-year-old Priyanka from Ludhiana, a karate and taekwondo champion and a black belt, was all set to participate in an international championship in Malaysia last year, when she was diagnosed with leukemia (blood cancer).
Winner of four national gold medals in karate and and seven state golds (including three in taekwondo), Priyanka now is fighting a losing battle against blood cancer with her mother having no funds left to continue her treatment.
She is the second youngest among seven sisters. Her mother, Prabhwati Devi, earns a meager Rs 5,000 a month working at a factory as rest of her salary is deducted to repay Rs 3 lakh loan she took for Priyanka’s treatment. Her father, the family says, is a drunkard and has not contributed a penny for her treatment.
The family does not even have money to afford eggs and fruits, prescribed by the doctors to Priyanka as part of protein rich diet required to survive painful chemotherapy sessions. Seeing her mother and sisters struggling to collect money for her treatment, Priyanka tells her mother to stop her treatment and leave it on fate.
The family is living in a room given to them at the campus of Indra Public School in New Shakti Nagar of Ludhiana, a charitable school being run for poor children and giving compulsory martial arts training to girls for self-defence. That is from where Priyanka’s journey started when she was in Class IV and she started training in martial arts.
Her coach, Charanjit Kashyap, speaking to The Indian Express said, “She is a black belt holder and was all set to fly to Malaysia for her first international championship last year. During practice, she suddenly started getting fatigued and feeling weak. It was then that her leukemia was diagnosed in June 2016 and treatment started at Dayanand Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). She has won twelve gold medals in karate and taekwondo from 2012 to 2016 including four national golds. Her monthly medicines are now for at least Rs 25,000. Her mother does not have money to even buy the food prescribed by doctors.”
The family has even sold a 50 sq yard plot they had purchased for their home. “We also got Rs 1.5 lakh under CM’s cancer relief fund which have been exhausted. We are under mounting debt as my salary is also being deducted to repay loan I took from my employers. Her father spends whatever he earns on liquor. He, in fact, taunts Priyanka for being a burden,” said the mother.
The doctors have advised bone-marrow transplant as the last treatment. “It is going to cost at least Rs 20-25 lakh as doctors have said that disease may relapse as it does in most of such cases. We do not know how to continue her treatment further. When she sees her mother and sisters toiling hard for money, she loses her emotional balance which deteriorates her condition.
She even told her mother to stop her treatment and let her die,” said the coach.
Priyanka won national gold in karate at Kapurthala in 2014, three national gold medals at Rampur in 2015 and cleared black belt test of Punjab Karate Federation in May 2016 following which she was selected for international championship in Malaysia.