Sunny Bains Sits Down with The Asian Today To Talk Family Life
It was a day to forget for parents Sunny and Gurprit Bains, a day which forever changed the course of their lives. On a lukewarm spring day, and after a referral to Birmingham Children’s Hospital, the family were left devastated after being told that their two-year-old son, Gaurav, was suffering from a rare blood disorder called Monosomy 7. Looking back at that time, dad Sunny, said it was a very surreal moment. “I remember when the doctor told us, I was lost for words. Thinking it’s a mistake and there is no way my son could potentially have leukaemia. This is something you read about in the papers, not something you expect to happen to your own child.”
Spending most of their time at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Gaurav needed an urgent stem cell operation which would stop him developing an aggressive form of childhood leukaemia. The family were given more misery when their blood failed to match Gaurav’s – which meant they had to turn to the national database. Having a shortage of Asian donors the family were unable to find a match on the register.
Sunny and Gurprit launched an appeal for more bone marrow donors and in an unprecedented move saw over 8,000 people join the bone marrow register, an increase of 1200%, according to statistics released by charities Anthony Nolan and Delete Blood Cancer.
“Never did we ever imagine our community and so many people to come forward and help support us in the way which they did. It was so overwhelming. We felt down and out, ready to give up. We even spoke about things like having to plan for Gaurav’s funeral. But at a time when we needed it most, our friends, family, and strangers from all over came to give us support in so many ways. I can honestly say it’s because of every one of those people we found hope and faith when we needed it most.
“I knew I had to keep it together for the sake of my family. I always knew I could not afford to let myself crumble as that wouldn’t help Gurprit or the kids. To the outside (and that includes my family) I always kept a brave face and always tried to stay cheerful and confident for the kids and Gurprit so they had someone to lean on. I’ve never really admitted this before, but deep down I was a mess and crumbling inside. So many times I wanted to let it all out but knew I couldn’t.
“Gurprit and I had many heart to heart chats all the time in the early hours when the kids would be asleep. I know her support helped so much and I could not have got through it without her. Through this entire nightmare she became my strength and I feel we are closer than ever.
“We now go to hospital less and less and Gaurav is becoming more and more active all the time. It honestly is like he has a new lease of life.
“The journey since the Bone marrow transplant has seen many ups and downs. Sometimes it felt like 1 step forward then 2 steps back. But that step forward is something we always held onto for hope. Gaurav has had to learn things like walking and crawling all over again as he was so weak he could not do it at first. Now we are beginning to see more positive steps forward than backwards and pray that it continues.
“I love being a father. Kiran is so creative, cheeky and smart. I love finding little notes she leaves around the house telling us how much she loves us (and sometimes how we are mean because she doesn’t get what she wants)
“The best thing about being Gaurav’s dad I suppose id say is being able to be there to help him learn new things all the time and seeing him become more and more strong on his own. He is the type of boy if he falls down; he dusts himself off, gets up and tries again until he does it. I love that so much about him. His laugh is infectious and when I make him laugh that is the best feeling in the world. I love them, both in their own way.
“When Gaurav is older and looks back at this time in his life, I would always want him to know how so many people came together to help him. I want him to know what a wonderfully amazing thing he has done in raising awareness about blood cancer and how his lovely cheeky looks and personality has helped save many other lives because people registered as a stem cell donor and became a match for others who needed it.“