The children of St. Jude – Gayatri Linga

Dr. Vijay Linga’s family simply could not understand why he insisted on taking his daughter half a world away for treatment, but he had attended medical seminars and lectures by a St. Jude doctor.  “The difference in what he’s doing and what we’re doing in India, it’s like, maybe a hundred year’s difference,” Dr. Linga says. “For me, it’s like double chance (of survival) for my daughter.  I’m giving double or triple chance for my daughter.” 

As a medical oncologist in India, he has seen treatment, in both adults and children’s cancers, that was very painful.  “I used to do all the procedures on all the children in my hospital without anesthesia, without any pain sedation.  Just, we hold (the child) and do it.  All the procedures they do (at St. Jude), they do under anesthesia.  No pain for child.” 

There was another big factor.  “We knew St. Jude was best place in the world for acute leukemia and brain tumors,” he says.  Gayatri was diagnosed in November of 2013. 

At first, little Gayatri was homesick like any 8-year old would be.  Plus, she missed Indian food.  “They went to Indian store, they brought that back, and they gave to my daughter.  She was so happy. That was very touching, like people coming by, making her comfortable.  Just taking their time out and spending time with children whom they don’t know, still trying to help them.  Very heart touching.

“She was not feeling very lonely, also.  We were so blessed that she was getting top treatment and also some activities around her to make her deviate from this problem. “

Dr. Linga is doing work now as a research assistant at a lab at UT.  “I’m learning new things there,” he says.  “With that, I’m also trying to get licensing exam to learn more about pediatric oncology in this country, then go back to my country and do whatever is possible.”

For now, he just wants to concentrate on helping his daughter get better…and thanking St. Jude. 

“Making us believe that yes, we can do it;  always they make us believe that yes, we can do it.”

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