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International student Chandrakanth Madireddy knew something was wrong when he began to see clots appear on the side of his neck.
For about a month before, he had been experiencing severe body pains. Sometimes they were so acute that daily activities were curtailed, including his ability to even walk. A fever had persisted.
Today, some four months in, he is at Concord Hospital, diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, a kind of blood cancer common in males over 60.
Chandrakanth is 27 years old.
Currently undergoing level three chemotherapy, he is facing more extensive treatment involving bone marrow transplant, for which a worldwide search for a match has just commenced.
Luckily for him, specialists at Concord Hospital and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital believe he has good chances.
Also lucky for him, a close friend is standing by, doing all he can to offer support – and raise funds for his treatment.
Childhood friend and fellow international student Sravan Elgamoni has launched a GoFundMe campaign, seeking financial aid to the tune of $100,000 to help cure Chandrakanth.
“The costs associated with this treatment can tend to be extremely expensive, in usual cases making it hard to afford, however, almost impossible in Chandrakanth’s case,” Sravan says in his appeal.
“I’ve known Chandrakanth since our time together in primary school in Jadcherla, Telangana,” Sravan told Indian Link. “He has faced many challenges in his life so far, including the loss of his mother when he was in Year 7. His father is an agricultural labourer, and very early on, Chandrakanth took on the responsibility to care for his two younger sisters.”
Family responsibilities were front and centre in his mind when he came to Australia to study for a Master’s degree in Computing and Innovation from the University of Adelaide.
He hoped to build a career to help his family, and yet today the family have had to sell land to help fund his treatment here.
Just over $34,000 is currently accumulated. This made possible the $5,000 upfront deposit to the Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry (ABMDR) to begin the search for a donor. But there is a long way to go. Once a potential donor is found, Sravan notes on the appeal, additional costs will accrue associated with acquiring the cells, and the courier or freight, which will depend on the type of collection (PBSC, marrow or cord) and the location of the donor. Recovery and rehabilitation will also need to be funded.
“Support and funds came from friends in Sydney and Melbourne, the Hindu Council of Australia, and from Telangana associations and businesses like New Edge Consultancy,” Sravan revealed. “Donations have also come in from India. Here in Australia, we are grateful for the help of Sreenadh Brahmapuram, who galvanised community support, helped launch our GoFundMe campaign, and took our appeal to the associations.”
Sreenadh, an IT professional from Telangana himself, is well-known in Sydney’s Indian community for his welfare activities.
“When I heard from Sravan and his friends about Chandrakanth’s illness and his family and financial conditions, I thought of ways to help,” Sreenadh told Indian Link. “I work in RPA myself, and was able to get some medical advice and intervention.”
As he visited Chandrakanth in hospital and became more involved, his own family stepped up too. His 23-year-old son Sreekanta, a health management trainee at Westmead Hospital, took less than an hour to raise the final $800 of the $5000 registration fee.
Meanwhile, Sravan laments that he has not been able to visit Chandrakanth in hospital since the Sydney lockdown. “I last saw him seven days ago,” he recounted. “We speak regularly on the phone, though. He’s currently fighting a stomach infection, but his thoughts are all about expenses of the forthcoming treatment.”
Indian readers may be aware of the ancient folklore of Sravan who moved mountains in the care of his elderly parents. His modern-day namesake is attempting to do the same for a childhood friend.
Perhaps you can help him to help Chandrakanth.
For more details, contact Sravan Elgamoni on +61 466 554 402 or Sreenadh Brahmapuram on +61 425 216 499.
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