A six-year-old girl, Dhanika Tripura, is suffering from a rare and painful form of cancer which causes her eyes to bleed and grow to the size of a tennis ball. A resident of a small village in Tripura, Dhanika was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukaemia last November.

Dhanika was born healthy and lived a relatively normal life until symptoms started to develop six weeks ago. When her parents sought treatment, the local doctors only provided painkillers, paracetamol and anti-allergies.

Her father, Dhanya Kumar Tripura, works as a daily wage labourer and her mother, Shashi Bala, is a stay at home mother to four children. “Her condition brings tears to my eyes. I cannot even look into her eyes and talk to her anymore. Her eyes look so horrible. Her pain and condition break my heart and as a father it is tragic to see a child suffering like this,” Dhanya was reported as saying.

Dhanya explained that the problem started as a small itch in her eyes, proceeded to become swelling and eventually they grew to such a big size.

As her condition worsened, the family took Dhanika to Agartala government medical college and later to GB Pant Hospital where doctors diagnosed her with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. But due to financial constraints, the family has limited means for a proper medical procedure.

A local community group has set up a fundraiser to help the family. Sajal Debbarma, 36, from the United Tiprasa Forum “(UTP), said: “I came to know about this girl through a social media group and really wanted to help her. We went up to see her and were shocked by her condition. Her family did not even have proper knowledge where to go and who to approach, let alone getting her treatment done.

“We brought her to Agartala then and got her treatment started there. But we have limited funds, we hope people come forward to help this little girl get some help.”

After her diagnosis, Dhanika was referred to Dr Bhubhneshwar Barooah Cancer Institute, in Guwahati, approximately 550km (963 miles) from Agartala, where she is being treated.

Medical oncologist Dr Munilima Hazarika, who is treating Dhanika says that her condition is critical, “We have started the chemotherapy a few days ago but her survival chances are only about 10 percent. She is really weak and with chemotherapy, we expect that her haemoglobin and platelets would further decrease which is a risk. We need at least 30 blood donors for her to keep her treatment going.”

Dhanya is pleading for help to save his daughter.

“I am not educated at all. I am so poor that I could not even send my children to school. I have done everything I could but still, her survival chances seem low. I have no money for her treatment but some people have volunteered to help my daughter. I owe my life to all of them.”

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