What if you only had 100 days to live?

One person’s sunset is another person’s dawn, depending on where you live.

(Translated by Rice, proof-read and edited by Mitch Silver)

I am not sure why I have often been reflecting on what ‘death’ means these days. I strongly believe that ‘death’ is just the endof one page of learning and the start of another. it is similar to  the excitement that we feel when we finish college and are ready to set foot into society. However, when I reflect on ‘death; again, I discover that I am still terrorized by the pain and the non-predictability of that very moment.

I am not sure about why but I watched a very old film ‘what dreams may come’, starring the late, Robin Williams. The world after ‘death’ is vividly depicted in it. In fact, ‘death’ is just another dimension where we realize our thoughts. Through this movie, we understand the meaning of ‘the truth is what your thoughts are’ and at the same time, it enables us to realize that in fact the world after ‘death’ is not that horrifying.

After that, I interviewed a dying teenager in Nepal. A Nepalese from Hong Kong had told me there was a young man diagnosed with a cancer that can only be cured by undergoing bone marrow transplantation otherwise; he could only live for 100 days more.

I tried to imagine what I would feel if I were this 22- year old who was going to enter college but now only had 100 days left. Before I can get a clue of this, I have visited this boy, Rudra and during the interview time, his smile has left me the deepest impression.
Rudra is smiling all the time. 
He told me he had chronic diarrhea last September and at the same time, he had fevers and had blood in his stool. After diagnosis, he was confirmed to have aplastic anemia. In other words, his bone marrow had lost the ability to produce new blood. This is a rare hereditary disease and the only way to cure him is for him to have a bone marrow transplant.

His parents are poor farmers. He and his elder brother were taken care of since they were young by a kind-hearted Nepalese who paid their school fees. After learning the expense needed for the operation, he soughthelp from the Kulung Community (a small tribal group of Nepal) and they immediately set up a committee named ‘Saving Rudra Campaign’ with the hopes of raising sufficient funds. Up till now, they have raised 2.4 million rupees, ie 180,000 HKD.

When Rudra was talking to me, he was always wearing a smile and I could not help asking, ‘Rudra, how do you feel now?’ He said,’ I am feeling optimistic,’ he talked with a smile, ‘originally I was desperate but after they set up the committee, I feel very happy when seeing there are so many people supporting me.’ 


I was so surprised by his reaction and thought, ‘ I don’t think any teenager in the same situation can still smile and talk as if everything were alright I cannot feel any fear of ‘death’ from him’

I continued my questions and asked him what he would like to do after his recovery. Rudra who was studying Sociology and Journalism thought for a while and answered, ‘ I had been volunteering in orphanages in the past 4 years and I hope I can keep doing it in order to help those kids a little.’

Rudra who is a shy and introverted teenager touched me when he smiled with his sincerity and warmth.  

I asked the committee of ‘Saving Rudra Committee’ , ‘ how much we still need to raise in order to have the enough amount for operation?’ They answered, ‘ if the bone marrow of his brother can be transplanted into his body, we just need to raise 2 million rupees more (around 150,000 HKD); however, if his brother’s is not compatible, then we need to raise 7.6 million rupees more( around 600,000 HKD).

I was astounded since 600,000 HKD is not a small amount.

Several days after, Rudra told me the report of his brother was out and his bone marrow is not compatible to Rudra’s so he needs to find another person to donate the bone marrow. I was a little bit speechless when I had learnt the fact since the right bone marrow cannot be found within a short period of time, even if we have money.

I recalled the interview that we had, he gave me a hug before we departed. I still can feel the warmth until now. It is hard to imagine this body will be icy after 100 days if no suitable bone marrow can be found at the end.

There is a foreign friend who said.’ I am thinking if so much money is needed to save a person, should we use this amount to save more lives?’ I totally understand what he means but I believe every life is precious and it is hard to estimate whether saving more lives is more important than saving one. What I can do is to attract the necessary attention and help that he needs.

Then, when I was with my friend in Bhaktapur(An old town near Kulung Community), something unexpected happened. Something dropped on my left arm from above and it immediately fell to the ground. Before I realized what had happened, I saw a blue cat was lying on the floor, with its body twisting and blood was flowing out from his nostrils and mouth. I was astounded at that moment and wondered if I could take it to the vet but others said there were no vets around. I moved it to the sides of the road but it kept vomiting blood. My friend asked me to leave and said I could do nothing for it. I chose to stay stubbornly and shed my tears on its body. I was thinking, ‘at least I can stay with it until the very last moment of its life.’
I was too focused on the cat and did not notice that my friend was taking a photo of me. 

At last, the little cat stopped struggling and I accepted the fact that it had died and left there.

There are times when we have no control over life and death. I also think ‘living’ does not necessarily mean being happy and ‘dying’ is not equivalent to sadness. I guess we can only try our best to live our life and live everyday as it were our last. At the same time, we should enrich our life through different kinds of experience. In this way, no matter whether we can live for 100 days or 200 days more, we can still have no regrets when we ‘graduate’ from the last phrase of our life.

I only hope to spread the story of Rudra to you and if you know doctors or other personnel who can give him assistance, or if you hope to raise money for him, please contact him directly. (FB page: Saving Rudra Campaign) or us (Light On). You can also spread the story for the sake of getting more opinion and attention to this issue.