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Young Mind, Great Dreams: The Story of a Little Chess Champ

/ July 21, 2016 /

India had its moment of pride at the recent World Children’s Winners Games held in Moscow for youngsters who have fought life-threatening diseases. Aadish Cheruku, an 11-year-old Hyderabadi boy, represented India in the chess category, one of 15 children to participate from across the globe. Aadish, a cancer survivor, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the age of five.

Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, also called acute lymphocytic leukaemia or acute lymphoid leukaemia (ALL), is an acute form of leukaemia or cancer of the white blood cells. In this kind of leukaemia, there is overproduction and growth of cancerous, undeveloped white blood cells called lymphoblasts. Lymphoblasts multiply indeterminately in the bone marrow, increasing enough tocause damage and death by obstructing the production of normal cells (such as red and white blood cells and platelets) in the bone marrow and by spreading to other organs. Children between 2 and 5 years of age are the most likely age group to be affected by ALL; another peak happens in old age. Symptoms include weakness, fatigue, anaemia, dizziness, fever and infection.

As a 5-year-old ALL patient, Aadish underwent chemotherapy and radiation and was quarantined for 9 months at the hospital.

In the end, he won his battles and emerged cancer-free. He lost the bronze medal in chess at the World Children’s Winners Games, but his parents, Ch Venkatesh and Nagalakshmi, are extremely proud of their son’s achievement. They believe it is the exposure that matters rather than the prize. They are also all praise for Aadish’s brave fight against cancer.

When Aadish was in hospital for cancer treatment, he was not allowed to meet any of his friends or relatives. The only person allowed in to see him was his mother, who had to wear a protective suit while she was with him. For a child of 5 years, isolation is a terrible experience. His mother remembers that he could not even play chess at the time. Such traumatic experiences can dull young minds but Aadish was not one to be discouraged by his circumstances. His positivity and fighting spirit are what marked this little fellow as special, even at the age of 5.

His recent tournament is a major milestone for the little champ. “His reading of the game is immaculate. The more tournaments he plays, the better he will get,” says his coach Hanuman Satish. Here’s to more tournaments and more victories for this upbeat survivor!

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as acute lymphocytic leukemia or acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL), is an acute form of leukemia, or cancer of the white blood cells, characterized by the overproduction and growth of cancerous, undeveloped white blood cells, known as lymphoblasts. In persons with ALL, lymphoblasts are overproduced in the bone marrow and continuously increase, causing damage and death by hindering the production of normal cells (such as red and white blood cells and platelets) in the bone marrow and by spreading to other organs. ALL is most common in childhood, at 2–5 years of age and another peak in old age. Symptoms include weakness, fatigue, anemia, dizziness, fever and infection.

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