When I was in India last year, between July and October, I would visit Chennai on a weekly basis. Usually, most Saturdays I would travel to the huge city and in particular to the government hospital in Royapetta where 7 year old Karthic and his mother - sometimes little sisters and father - would be staying.
Karthic was receiving treatment for cancer. He had been ill for roughly a year but it wasn't until last July that his parents and CARE Foundation realise how serious it was. He received chemotherapy treatment in hospital and gradually the swelling in his eye - that the cancer had caused - reduced. He returned home right at the end of my trip, and for a short while he and his mother stayed with CARE Foundation so they could be completely comfortable and Karthic could rest.
Karthic went back to his village not long after that and for a short while seemed to be getting stronger, he even managed to go back to school.
Most recently when I was in India at the end of this May I went to see Karthi again and he was sick. He had a fever and was really tired - the extreme heat of the Indian summer wasn't helping. He was taken to hospital but then sent home again with some medicine. However, a couple of days after I returned home I got a call from Peter, who told me Karthi had passed away.
He died in hospital in the night, after being rushed there by CARE Foundation and his family when his condition took a turn for the worst. They were all with him when he passed away and CARE organised his funeral for the next day - which was very important for his family.
Needless to say, we are all very upset and affected by Karthi's death. He was a sweet, quiet, considerate and loving young boy. He took incredibly care of his sisters, even when he was ill, and he was loved dearly by everyone around him. Karthic was 8 when he passed away, far too young to die. We'll all remember him forever and keep him close to our hearts.
Below is a tribute written by Leciya, our Project Manager, who knew him well and saw him daily ever since he joined our projects.
Recently we were all very saddened by the passing of a young boy in our community, Karthic. Karthic was 8 years old and died from complications as a result of his cancer. Below is a tribute to his life.
Karthic was a little boy from the Londor community. He lived with 17 other families in a small village close to where our projects are based. His family's main occupation is begging, which they have been doing traditionally for generations. The community are one of the Scheduled Castes, formerly known as Untouchables. They beg at public places such as bus stations, near temples, etc. The begging occupation does not earn them much money, and much of what they earn is mostly spent on alcoholic drinks and on food. Their living conditions are very poor. They live in small huts which are in very bad condition. They lack basic amenities such as proper house, water, toilets, etc. and are faced with several other problems.
Karthic was studying in 3rd Standard in Primary School close by to his village, CARE Foundation had been supporting his education for three years. Karthi was a very smart boy and did really well at school, which he liked going to. Last year he did particularly well in his final exams and was even promoted an extra year ahead of his peers!
Karthi lived in a very small hut with his father, mother and his two sisters. Karthic liked his sisters very much. Every day he walked to school with his older sister, while his baby sister stayed at home with their mother. His sister's names are Manju and Meena.
Karthic’s favorite food was biryani and his favourite colour was blue. When he had a long stay in the hospital in Chennai we would come and visit him to take him out for biryani as a treat. He always smiled when we came to visit. He was the happiest boy.
Unfortunately his cancer was too strong, and despite several periods of intense treatment over the last few years Karthic passed away on 12/06/2018. Over the last few years Karthic and his family suffered a lot, CARE Foundation supported his treatment and the wellbeing of his family. Throughout the last year his suffering grew and we all put more effort into getting him the help he needed. We all tried our best for Karthic, and his death was terrible news for us and especially his family. His parents and his sisters miss him everyday. We are sad we couldn't save his life.