Heartbreaking pictures show six-year-old girl with bleeding eyes due to cancer
A six-year-old girl in India suffering from cancer has been left blinded and in agony with protruding and bleeding eyes.
The heartbreaking pictures of Dhanika Tripura show how extreme her condition has become in just six weeks.
Her desperate parents are now pleading for help after their 'healthy' and 'joyful' daughter deteriorated after suddenly suffering with itchy eyes in November.
Dhanika was taken to several local doctors in her remote village but they have just basic facilities and she was just given painkillers, paracetamol and anti-allergy tablets, and sent home.
The family, from a small village in Tripura, north-eastern India, could not afford to get her specialist help – and the girl's prognosis looked extremely poor.
Now a charity has stepped in to help, but medics face a race against time and her chance of survival is only about 10 per cent. Dhanika's parents still need further funds.
Her father, Dhanya Kumar Tripura, 45, works as a daily wage labourer, and earns approximately Rs 1,000 (£10) a month. Her mother, Shashi Bala, 40, is a housewife who stays at home to looks after their four children.
Dhanya said: 'Her condition brings tears to my eyes. I cannot even look into her eyes and talk to her anymore. Her eyes look so horrible.
'Her pain and condition breaks my heart and as a father it is tragic to see a child suffering like this.'
'We worry for her life'
Dhanya says his daughter's small rash and itching got worse and she developed a fever.
He said: 'She'd often complain of itching in her eyes and rub them often. Her eyes started swelling slowly and eventually grew to such a big size.
'We took her to several doctors in our village but none could help. This all started approximately 45 days back and within no time her condition has increased to a level that we now worry for her life.'
Dhanika, who has never been to school due to her family's poverty, was eventually taken to Agartala Government Medical College and Govind Ballabh Pant Hospital in New Delhi where doctors diagnosed her with acute lymphocytic leukemia.
The main treatment for this type of blood cancer is chemotherapy. Sufferers might also have targeted cancer drug or steroids.
A local community group the United Tiprasa Forum became aware about Dhanika's condition and have stepped in to help.
Sajal Debbarma, 36, from the United Tiprasa Forum UTP), said: 'I came to know about this girl through a social media group and really wanted to help her.
'We went up to see her and were shocked by her condition. Her family did not even have proper knowledge where to go and who to approach, let alone getting her treatment done.
'We brought her to Agartala then and got her treatment started there. But we have limited funds, we hope people come forward to help this little girl get some help.'
After her diagnosis, Dhanika was referred to Dr Bhubhneshwar Barooah Cancer Institute, in Guwahati, approximately 550km (963 miles) from Agartala, where she is being treated.
Medical oncologist Dr Munilima Hazarika said: 'Her condition is still critical. We have started the chemotherapy a few days ago but her survival chances are only about 10 per cent.
She is really weak and with chemotherapy, we expect that her hemoglobin and platelets would further decrease which is a risk. We need at least 30 blood donors for her to keep her treatment going.'
Over the last 45 days, Dhanika has lost around 10kg (22lbs) and now weighs 14kg (30lbs), while she earlier weighed about 25kg (55lbs).
Dhanya is pleading for help to save his daughter.
'I am not educated at all. I am so poor that I could not even send my children to school.
'I have done everything I could but still her survival chances seem low.
'I have no money for her treatment but some people have volunteered to help my daughter. I owe my life to all of them.'