6 Months Old at Diagnosis
My baby Rishi always smiled and gave us joy, even when he was in pain. Rishi, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at age 6 months, always fought with courage and happiness.
Rishi was a miracle child. He was born to us 10 years after his older brother, who has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. We were devastated when our older child was diagnosed with DMD 9 years ago, so we waited a long time to have another baby. When Rishi was diagnosed with AML we were devastated all over again.
Rishi went through 5 difficult cycles of chemotherapy. He went to the OR 16 times. He received over 150 units of blood. He suffered line infections and had 2 central line placements. He had emergency surgery, kept very strong and smiled a lot. He went into remission, but only for 6 weeks. The leukemia came back.
Rishi lived only 16 months, but he touched far more lives than can be imagined. Today, because of Rishi, more south Asians are donating blood in Columbus, OH and more Asians are registering with the bone marrow registry. We are increasing children’s cancer awareness through the south Asian community. We are participating in the CureSearch Walk – Columbus this month, and will do more.
We are stronger because of Rishi. We have seen how a community can come together to hold up a family in need. We have seen how people of all faiths and colors can band together.
Rishi’s memorial had Christian, Muslim, Hindu prayers; a Jewish prayer was not possible only because it was their Sabbath and no one could be there that day. Rishi spent 7 months in the hospital, and he brought people of different faiths and backgrounds together. He taught us to be strong, to smile in adversity, to accept life as it is, not as we want it to be.
- Vinay & Archana Prasad