Sensible Bakwas » Featured, personal » Cancer awareness: I need your suggestions

Cancer awareness: I need your suggestions

Todayas I opened my Facebook profile, i saw a status message by Shilpa Garg, a blogger friend,on worldwide cancer awareness day. It reminded me of an incident that tookplace about a year ago. Today I would like to share with you the story of Ram (namechanged), my very good friend and colleague. I should have come up with this post much earlier, but then, better late than never.

Ram’smother developed a cancer in her gall bladder. I got to know this only when Imet Ram in the cab when he came back from a 2 week long leave. Till then wewere only told that his mother was unwell. When I met Ram that day and askedhim about his mother, he started crying. I was shocked and immediately started consolinghim and asked him what’s wrong. That’s when he told me about his mother’sproblem. Cancer in the gall bladder is one of the rarest forms of cancer andthe chemo therapy available for this is still in its trial phases. However thecurrent treatment consisted of six cycles of therapy and each cycle cost himaround Rs 50,000. The overall cost went way above Rs 6,00,000. Ram earnedaround the same salary as I did, which is around Rs 25,000 a month. He doesn’t havea father and supports not just his mother but also his younger siblings. When Isaw him cry that day I could see the emotional stress and trauma on his face. Hefelt completely helpless. He somehow arranged the whole cash through hissavings, loans and help from all of us. He couldn’t claim much from his healthinsurance as a patient needs to be admitted for him/her to eligible forinsurance.

Thewhole treatment was over in about six months. Things were fine he said, afterthe whole treatment. Two months later I met him again and the first thing Iasked him was about his mother. The whole treatment had failed he said. Thedoctor gave her another month to live. The doctors had said her life can beprolonged by a few months if she was given 2 injections both costing another Rs50000 each. As a dying wish, Ram’s mother wanted to see him getting married andRam wanted that wish to come true. Left with no financial options now, Ram didn’tknow what to do.

Ispoke to my cousin if she knew any NGO that could help us out and she got me intouch with CanSupport is an organization in Delhi. CanSupport run palliativecare services, free of cost, for people with advanced and terminal cancer, withour home care teams of doctors, nurses and counsellors visiting them in theirhomes. They also have a helpline that helps people with any queries that theymay have on cancer. I gave them a call and asked them if they knew from where Icould get financial assistance for my friend’s mother’s treatment. They informedme that I could go to the prime minister’s relief fund. When I checked the websitefor the prime minister’s relief fund, it was clearly mentioned there that thesupport is provided the deprived and the under privileged. That definitely didn’tinclude an IT employee.

All his friends including me started collectingmoney from everyone we knew and used up all the contacts that we had inAccenture. We started off by sending mailer to everybody and asking them toforward it to whoever they knew. We even went out there and spoke to their teamspersonally and asked them to donate as much as they could. By the next morningwe had Rs 96000 collected and this was sufficient for the treatment. The nextday when I met Ram and saw a sense of relief on his face, I can’t tell you howgreat it felt. After the injections were given, I met him a week later. He hadtears in his eyes again. The only difference was that this time they were tearsof satisfaction. I still can’t forget what he said that day. He said “For thefirst time in 8 months I have seen my mother walk. When she scolded my sister,I actually felt so good, coz that was the normal person she was. Today for thefirst time in 8 months she cooked for me.” I had tears in my eyes listening tothat. His mother passed away 4 months later.

Thiswhole episode just showed me how difficult it was for a middle class man to gethimself/his family members treated. There are loads of organizations todaywhich help the poor society but none that can help the middle class, whorequire kelp too. I had decided that day to set up an organization that will helpthe middle class society financially and would eventually work towards makinghealthcare affordable to each every person whatever class he may come from. I anda friend did come up a couple of ideas of how to go about this but they werevery vague.Atfirst we thought of opening up a fund in our company where people could donatesome money every month and we could have a fund collected. Later after speakingto another friend I thought starting something like a insurance which would berun on a non profit basis. I am still exploring ways to start this. It would be great if you guys can pour inwith you ideas too.

P.S. Please come up with whatever suggestions you can, no matter what they may be. Also please share you stories either here or on you blogs, to increase awareness.

Written by

Tavish is the administrator and founder of Sensible Bakwas. He is a software engineer by profession and a writer by passion. In case you want to get in touch with him, he is an email away at tavish.chadha@gmail.com. Hope you enjoy your time here. Do leave your feedback in the comment section here.

Filed under: Featured, personal

28 Responses to "Cancer awareness: I need your suggestions"

  1. Mohan says:

    Great post Tavish. My heart goes out to all those cancer infected… at the same time, people need to believe that it is curable if detected earlier… Awareness is the Mantra and you have done a fantastic job by narrating a story. I am sure this is one of the best ways to spread awareness.

    Keep it up.

  2. Lakshmi Rajan says:

    I would differe a little with Mohan. Yes awareness is the key mantra and early detection is very important. But not all cancer are curable. My dad was diagonised with a form of cancer – Multiple myeloma – which has no cure. We can only battle to extend the inevitable.

    There are few government centres like Regional cancer centre in Trivandrum and Adyar cancer center who do a commendable job in giving a quality treatment at subsidized cost. Still, cancer is a costly affair. I wish government and NGO's join together to make the treatment affordable to larger section of affected people.

    Good post Tavish to raise the awareness. My prayers with all those affected and the near ones of the affected.

  3. Shilpa Garg says:

    Oh! I am going through a lot of emotions…
    …Sad at Ram and his family's loss and the pain and trauma they went through.
    …Touched by his feelings on seeing his mother scold and cook.
    …Happy at your efforts to help.
    …Determined to do my bit.
    How…dont know yet but would be happy to help!

    I lost my cousin to Leukemia many years ago. She was just a baby and left us finally at the age of 8! :(

  4. Tavish Chadha says:

    Mohan
    Thanks Mohan. Yes awareness is the very necessary, but I wanted to go beyond that, in helping people in terms of finances. Please do share whatever ideas that you may have in mind in order to help completely or at least partly subsidize the medical expenses incurred while treating cacer.

  5. Tavish Chadha says:

    Lakshmi
    I am really sorry to hear about your father. You are right its all about extending the inevitable. But thats somehting you can just anything for. Thanks for sharing the info here. This will definitely be alot of help for people reading this thread.

  6. Tavish Chadha says:

    Shilpa
    Am rally sorry to hear about your cousin. If you do think of something or if you know anyone else who has some ideas, do share it. Thanks for the comments.

  7. rohini says:

    oh a very eye opening post….workshops, street plays, etc can help in spreading the awareness. cancer is also considered to be heriditory disease(i am not sure of this though, but have heard so)
    my driver who eats a lot of ghutka, paan etc. i have scolded him manytimes,,,,and once shown him the ugly pics of people who get mouth, throat cancer…
    this was about the awarenes…about how we can control the numbers….coz i think precaution is better than cure….
    now about finance…i dont kn how insurance would help……moreover if the companies or other organisations raise funds for cancer patients ..it such a nice thing…but i hope this disease is not spread due to carelessness….coz there are many who dont like to visit the doctor..even if they have a pain smwhere or anything else… they think negatively…i wish such type of hesitation should nto exist in the people

  8. Farila says:

    It was such a wonderful gesture on your part to help your friend…

    I have been through cancer myself and know its mechanics… also lost my mom and sister to it. Check out my post http://chaptersfrommylife.blogspot.com/2010/02/surviving-breast-cancer-for-13-years.html which has much of details about my journey of surviving cancer for 13 years

  9. Shruti says:

    Even I expected my mother to scold me or cook me a day's meal after her repeated chemotherapy. I wanted her to walk normally.. But nuthing happened. She passes away after struggling a lot.
    LR said, 'Adyar cancer center who do a commendable job in giving a quality treatment'.
    Know what? Its because of their BLUNDER I lost my mom.
    Even I thought of doing something like what you thought. Now am volunteering in the same Adyar cancer research institute. I get a peace of mind when i help those patients.

  10. Yemiledu says:

    Hai Tavish,
    That is a wonderful post and a nice way to spread awareness.
    I saw my aunt die of cancer and I know the physical and emotional pain the patient and the family have to undergo is surmountable.

    Your ideas are good and I wish you all the very best!

  11. Tavish Chadha says:

    Rohini
    Thats a nice thing to start from the immediate people around you. That could make a difference. The problem that I faced while presenting this idea of opening a fund was that it is just too difficult to define the middle class who I think require it the most. As for insurance, it is vague idea at the moment because even I have no clue how its going to work out, but there has to be a really detailed plan to go ahead with this.

  12. Tavish Chadha says:

    Farila
    OMG! Its so nice that you have survived it. I will definitely go through you blog very soon. Thanks for leaving the link here.

  13. Tavish Chadha says:

    Shruti
    I am so sorry to hear about you mom. I am so glad you are doing the voluntry work at the same hospital responsible for the mess, coz most people woudnt have done that…

  14. Tavish Chadha says:

    Archana
    Please do share what all your aunt had to go through, it would really help build awareness.

  15. Shahid says:

    Tavish..tell me if I can help in any way…I think the fact that the two of us work in the same place might help…

  16. Nalini Hebbar says:

    if it runs in the family other than getting checked up often there is nothing much one can do…there is a vaccination for cervical cancer-it has to be given in the teens.
    I recently lost a cousin to sternum cancer that quickly spread to the lungs…she could afford to go to Germany for the latest chemo treatment but could not be saved.
    Andhra Pradesh has a scheme called the Arogyashree…a wonderful scheme that has brought health care to the BPL…a scheme worth implimenting in other states too

  17. Tavish Chadha says:

    Shahid
    Thanks for volunteering man… yes will definitely let you know… I still dont have a proper action plan of how to go ahead with this… lots of vague ideas… am still speaking to a few friends… and will soon be meeting uo with some doctors to get as much info as possible… once i have a action plan will let you know… if have any ideas please do let me know and wecan discuss it… thanks buddy…

  18. Tavish Chadha says:

    Nalini
    hey thats a great piece of information on cervicle cancer and I am not sure how many people know about it. Thanks for let us know that. Really sorry to hear about your cousin. Treatment at times as lakshmi put it is just a way of prolonging the inevitable.. the best we can do is try… and the fact is most people cant afford to go and get treated in the best of places coz its just too expensive.
    I did hear of Arogyashree recently. I am trying to get as much info it and try and extend that to the middle class section too…. thanks for all the info Nalini

  19. Pooja says:

    when a family member suffers, everyone in the family suffers. such is life living with cancer..
    i lost my grandmother to BC when i 10 yrs old.
    it was traumatic, coz she was one constant in my life, even more than my mother. and to see her suffer, and give up, as she refused chemo was painful..
    you are doing a great job spreading awareness. i wish you and Ram all the very best..

  20. Tavish Chadha says:

    Pooja
    Thanks Pooja and am really sorry to hear about your grandmother. Please do share all the info you can on breast cancer, am sure it would be a huge help to people.

  21. tmac2271 says:

    That was touching how you went above and beyond for your friend. Unfortunately I can't be of much use to giving info(at least in the best sense)I know even some lower classes have issues in receiving help so im sure middle class would have it more difficult. I'll look up something though just to help out someway

  22. Tavish Chadha says:

    tmac2271
    Thanks buddy… do let me know if you do find something… will be a great help.

  23. Dishit D says:

    hey this is completely out of context and a bit strange but there is something for you –
    Check out the below link.
    http://observationzz.blogspot.com

  24. Hari says:

    "We are never so defenseless against suffering as when we love" – Sigmund Freud.

  25. Partha Pratim says:

    This is indeed true. Middle class people are often deprived of assistance from the Government because they belong to middle class families. This is an irony indeed!

    The thought as expressed by you in this blog is really good. Please do something about it.

  26. Tavish Chadha says:

    Partha
    Thanks for the encouragement. I will definitely do something. :)

  27. An eye-opener.. Glad that your friend’s mom recovered. Even glad that you stood by your friend in difficult times.
    Yes,we sure can do something for the society.. do let me know how.. I m interested

    1. Tavish Chadha says:

      Well Swathi, she didnt recover. She passed away four months after the injections were given. Thanks for the interest you have shown. I’ll let you know when something comes up.

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