Kolkata: Though ravaged by a relapse of Hodgkin's lymphoma, 16-year-old Bodhisattva Mandal scored a whopping 91 percent in his class 10 exams under the West Bengal board.
Gearing up for a bone marrow transplant in Mumbai, the teenager's desire at this point in time is to overcome the disease by becoming an oncologist.
"He laments that he couldn't score a perfect 100 in Mathematics. He scored 98. His one constant thought is to study more and he wants to treat the disease by becoming a specialist," Bodhisattva's father Manoranjan told IANS from the Mandals' Garia residence in Kolkata on Monday.
According to the Mayo Clinic, Hodgkin's lymphoma — formerly known as Hodgkin's disease — is a cancer of the lymphatic system.
In Hodgkin's lymphoma, cells in the lymphatic system grow abnormally and may spread. As the disease progresses, it compromises the body's ability to fight infection.
"He was first diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2013 when he was in class seven. That same year he was pronounced free of the disease after series of chemotherapy sessions in Mumbai's Tata Memorial Hospital. We used to take him to Mumbai every three months for check-ups. He is a good student and he never let cancer get in the way of being an achiever," elaborated Manoranjan, a para teacher in Mathematics in a school at Garia.
In December 2016, Bodhisattva suffered from a bout of high fever.
"We wanted to take him to Mumbai for a check-up but he wanted to devote time to prepare for his upcoming board (Madhyamik) exams. Again in February 2017, two days before the start of the exams, he came down with high fever. This time it hovered around 103°F (39.4°C) and he appeared for all the papers in that condition. Such was his will to study," Manoranjan said.
Within days of the exams getting over, the anxious Mandals made a rushed trip to Bodhisattva's doctors in Mumbai.
The news was not good.
"They ran tests and found the cancer had relapsed and is spreading. Around eight chemo sessions are needed and a bone marrow transplant is crucial to save his life," the student's father said.
However, Bodhisattva isn't about to let himself and his dreams become the cancer's conquests.
"Today (on Monday) he is preparing for the bone marrow transplant. Since it is autologous (the donor is the patient himself or herself), the stem cells are being harvested from him today. He is mentally strong and will bear any pain to get rid of the disease. His school, Naktala High School is very supportive," said Manoranjan, adding the family will leave no stones unturned to ensure his treatment which will set the Mandals back by Rs 12 to Rs 14 lakh.
Manoranjan, who earns around Rs 8,000 per month, has appealed to the public to help Bodhisattva through donations.
"I want my son to fulfil his dreams just like the other students. He is battling death but is so full of life and zest. I urge the public to come forward," added Manoranjan. He can be contacted at phone number 7044583254.
Updated Date: May 29, 2017 18:27 PM