When Gayatri’s parents, Vijay and Saritha, learned she suffered from acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a form of blood cancer, they were devastated.
Leading up to her diagnosis, there had been little sign Gayatri was ill. Vijay, an oncologist at a public hospital in India, knew of the work being done at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“St. Jude is the best cancer center in the world,” Vijay said. “I was familiar with their publications. St. Jude has the highest survival rates for patients with ALL. We wanted to go where there was the best treatment.”
Gayatri’s family arrived at St. Jude in mid-November. Almost immediately, Vijay was struck by key differences between care for leukemia in India and the care Gayatri is receiving at St. Jude.
“In India, everyone is treated the same for leukemia,” Vijay said. “Children and adults. Here, Gayatri’s treatment is tailored for her specifically.”
Gayatri, who is 8, is on a two-and-a-half year chemotherapy plan. Within weeks of starting treatment, her cancer was in remission. She will stay in Memphis with her parents and little sister, Diya, for the remainder of her treatment.
Gayatri’s parents were stunned to learn that her treatment was provided at no cost to them. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
“We knew St. Jude is the best for children’s cancer treatment,” Vijay said. “But we didn’t know about everything else the hospital does for families.”
At St. Jude, Gayatri’s favorite things are the school program and her rehab appointments. She loves to paint, read and learn.
We knew St. Jude is the best for children’s cancer treatment. But we didn’t know about everything else the hospital does for families.