A word that most people consider, a death sentence.
The infamous malady that is incurable.
An ailment that is feared.
Thousands of people are diagnosed with cancer every year. Though no treatment has been found for this condition, the medicine industry has reached a point where sufficient treatment can entirely lead cancer into remission. Post-treatment, many cancer patients lead a healthy life, live up to a ripe age, and succumb to other age and health issues. That being said, unfortunately, many patients irrespective of the treatments, succumb to cancer. It is a condition that requires immediate attention, the right treatments, utmost care, and even a pinch of luck. What might work for one person sometimes does not work for the other.
Child cancer or pediatric cancer which was once very uncommon is increasingly being diagnosed globally. Cancer is a leading factor responsible for the death of children and adolescents. According to WHO, each year approximately 400, 000 children and adolescents (0-19years) are diagnosed with cancer. While most childhood cancers can be controlled with the help of generic medicines and treatments, most patients from low-income backgrounds succumb to the condition due to lack of awareness, nutrition, and timely treatments. Child cancer is a very evident condition in India. Approximately 60,000 children are diagnosed with cancer every year in our country. And out of these 60,000 kids, only 12,000 make it to the hospital! Chemotherapy, which is one of the strongest and heavier treatments, often has unfortunate effects on malnourished kids, leading to an increase in deaths.
The Brand Called You has featured a number of individuals from medical and social sector backgrounds. However recently, we hosted a very unique individual with no medical background, who works towards fighting childhood cancer!
“It is my deep belief that no child deserves to suffer a treatment without nutrition.”
Purnota Dutta Bahl, who previously was a leading corporate professional in India, is now a social worker who helps hundreds of children fight cancer, one noble step at a time. Purnota is the National Award Winner for Child Welfare, an award presented by the Indian President himself! After an unplanned but fortunate visit to the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, Purnota had a very personal and up-close experience with the child cancer patients there.
“Once I walked there, I was not prepared to see what I saw. Because most of us do not have experience with government hospitals where they are treating children with cancer. What I saw really broke my heart, by the end of it, I was bawling. One thing I must mention is that as I was leaving the ward after meeting those kids, there was one child whose face I couldn’t see. She was sitting on her mother’s lap and I could only see her toes. They were very chubby, just like my firstborn Ahana’s. And you know it was the moment of epiphany where I thought it could have been my child. She even has the black thread tied around the same leg as my daughter. And you know at that moment I went to the social worker there and asked- what else can I do? I’m writing a cheque and I don’t think that’s enough!”
Her perspective experienced an elevated shift, and she decided to dedicate her time and effort for such children. Right nutrition backed by adequate treatment was the only way to help these children. Hence Purnota kick-started an initiative- Cuddles Foundation https://www.cuddlesfoundation.org/ which is focused on this very principle of Nutrition and Health to help children lead simpler and cancer-free lives. Having worked in the social sector for more than 7 years now, Purnota has positively turned around the lives of hundreds of children fighting cancer.
Being the deadly condition that it is, there are thousands of medical and social workers like Purnota who give their endless support and care to cancer patients. I believe apart from the right treatments, what we need most are awareness and social responsibility. If we as a country wish to make a change in the lives of cancer survivors, I strongly suggest that apart from donations to responsible organizations we can all devote our collective time and effort to volunteer, spend time and support these individuals on their journey!
Let’s come together to fight.
Let’s come together to change lives.
The Brand Called You, covers the stories of many such artists, entrepreneurs, social workers, and professionals. Visit The Brand Called You for content on Entrepreneurs and Professionals from a wide spectrum of various backgrounds.
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