Friday, 25 April 2014

CPAA - Overcoming Cancer & Bringing Hope into their Lives

Sufala gifts a rose – a symbol of hope - to this young boy
Veena Gaikwad cheers up a patient with gifts and smiles 

Roses and gift packs for each patient on the occasion of Rose Day 

An Awareness and Detection Camp in progress

Team Miracle helps CPAA’s ‘Make a Patient Smile’ program with our very own Musical Group

22 Dec, 2011. Although 5-year old Deepak* sat quietly in his mother’s lap, it was evident that he was enjoying the Christmas Party. His eyes followed the Musical Chairs, and his face lit up when Santa gave him sweets and a brightly-wrapped gift. Deepak had been discharged just an hour ago from hospital, after a long chemo session. He was supposed to be going straight home, but he had heard his father saying on the phone, ‘Sorry madam, party nahi aa sakta’. He immediately understood that CPAA was organizing a party, and, having attended their lively get-togethers earlier, he had stubbornly insisted on coming to this one. So even though Deepak was so exhausted, his father had given in.

As for us, we were happy that the little boy was there. We didn’t know it then…it was his last Christmas party!

Celebrating special days like Diwali, Christmas, or Women’s Day is just one of the ways for CPAA to spread some smiles among the cancer patients who come to them for help. CPAA (Cancer Patients Aid Association) which first started in Mumbai, followed up with a branch in Pune. The patients they help, come from the lowest socio-economic strata of society – daily wage labourers, vegetable/fruit sellers, maids etc. As it is, life is difficult for them – meager wages, insufficient holidays, no savings. And when cancer strikes, they are at a total loss. While there are days when they barely manage a proper nutritious meal, the costs of  treatment are prohibitive! It is here that they turn to CPAA for help.

CPAA helps these poor patients with medicines, money for treatment, and also with monthly supplies of grains and certain dry food items to provide some nutrition. Sanjivani who has had a breast removed needs a prosthesis; Bhau who now has a mechanical voice box cannot afford the special cleaning brush. Sometimes, a patient may just need a few pain-killers.

Maharukh Mehta, who heads the Pune office is forever juggling finances in such a way that no patient is turned away empty-handed. She is helped tirelessly by social workers Sumangala, Veena, Najiya, Sufala and Asha who try to get in more donors, visit patients and also hold Awareness & Detection Camps.

The work is arduous… and when they lose a patient, the mood in the office becomes grey and bleak. “There are times when we call up a patient to invite her/him for a party, and learn that he has just passed away! It feels terrible,” says Maharukh.

Not all cases are doomed. Many of them recover. 5-year-old Sumaiya’s leukaemia has been subdued, and for that, we also thank one of our Team Miracle helpers, Tenaz, who had partly funded her treatment.

Would you like to save a life? Would you like to give some hope? Even a little goes a long way. Life is not in our hands…and even if the patient you fund finally passes away, you can at least find solace that your gift gave a longer lease of life…or a less painful end. There are many more avenues to help …just get in touch with Team Miracle…and we will open a vista of ways to spread kindness and create smiles!

* Name changed


No comments:

Post a Comment