When Pika Sasi Kirana was born, there were no signs that anything was amiss.
A bouncing baby weighing 3.4kg (7.5lb), Pika soon grew into an active toddler and, by the time she reached kindergarten, was just like any of the other children in her class. An avid singer, she also loved to dance and ride her bicycle in the afternoons, filling her mother Santi Warastuti and father Sunarta with pride as they watched their only child thrive.
But when Pika was about five years old, her health took a sudden turn for the worse. The little girl began to vomit regularly at school and suffered from fainting spells. When Warastuti, now 43, took her daughter to the doctor in Denpasar on the Indonesian island of Bali, Pika was prescribed epilepsy medication.
Her condition did not improve.
“No one ever actually said the words ‘cerebral palsy’,” Warastuti, who worked as a fashion designer, told Al Jazeera. “It just showed up one day on her doctor’s notes.”
Following the written diagnosis, Pika’s health deteriorated rapidly, with doctors seemingly unable to slow the progress of the disease or offer any solutions to make Pika more comfortable.
“Every time I visited a doctor they kept changing the doses or types of medication,” Warastuti said. “Nothing worked.”