Jyoti’s Story

During a visit to a slum in Pokhara, Dr. Shin met Jyoti Lamgade. At just two and a half years old, Jyoti had cancer in one eye. 7 cycles of chemotherapy were recommended, but Jyoti was forced to discontinue treatment after the 4th cycle because her family could no longer afford the therapy. Her condition had worsened.

Dr. Shin brought her to see Dr. Eliya, medical director at Himalaya Eye Hospital. Dr. Eliya confirmed that Jyoti desperately needed to continue treatment–she was at risk of losing her eye or, worse, of the cancer spreading. The closest hospital was in Kathmandu which was 8 hours away by bus. Public transportation had been halted due to pandemic regulations. Furthermore, the family would need to stay in Kathmandu for three weeks to finish the complete cycle of chemotherapy. This harsh reality felt insurmountable. Sharing Hearts in Nepal provided funds for the family to travel to Kathmandu by taxi, which was allowed only under emergency circumstances. Funds were also extended to cover food and accommodation during their stay as well as the cost of Jyoti’s treatment and supplementary medications.

Up until her 7th cycle of chemotherapy, Jyoti could still smile and laugh. However, an MRI showed more cancer cells and additional chemotherapy was recommended. To prevent metastasis, the eye was removed in December 2021. After the surgery, she experienced seizures, contracted COVID-19, and fell into a coma. In late June, she passed away. Everyone at Sharing Hearts in Nepal was devastated for Jyoti and her family.

Jyoti was gone, but SHIN staff did not want to abandon the family when their need was still so great. Sharing in their deep sadness, we decided to continue to offer them monthly support as they grieved and rebuilt their lives so that they could move forward with hope. Jyoti’s parents Kishan and Rupa lived in a small, rented room with no kitchen or bathroom. The walls were dark with smoke from their wooden stove. The roof was one, thin layer of slate that leaked water and did not offer much protection from the heat or the cold.

In August, SHIN allocated funds to Jyoti’s father Kishan to renovate their house. The goal was two-fold: To provide a healthier living environment for their new baby to grow up in, and to empower Kishan to acquire trade skills so that he could find work and support himself, his family, and his community in the future. He is currently working on getting a general contractor license and a driver’s license.

The renovation was completed in October 2022. Two months later, Rupa gave birth to their second baby, a beautiful, healthy baby boy named Kriss.

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