World Cancer Day: Every year it comes as a reminder—those who live with it obviously don’t need a reminder—but for those who can make a difference. The reminder is important, because most of the time we don’t realise the enormity of the problem. And when we miss that, we also miss the opportunity to do our bit to join the battle against cancer. What is tragic is when we miss the opportunity to help those who could have been saved, had help reached them at the right time.
According to reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the incidence of cancer in general and in children in particular is on the rise. In India, from being the eighth or ninth cause of mortality (among diseases), it has risen to the second position, just behind heart ailments. Among these, 15 percent are children, as against the global average of 0.5 percent. And most doctors will tell you that most of the childhood cancers are treatable.
What does that mean? It means that the fight needs more soldiers. It needs us all—doctors, hospitals, people with funds, pharma companies, corporates, civil society—to work together against this increasingly common and unfailingly vicious enemy.
That is why Genesis Foundation chose cancer as one of the critical illnesses to focus our efforts on. What we find most heart-breaking is when the only reason a child loses his or her battle against cancer is that the parents don’t have the funds for the treatment. It is the most helpless situation for a parent to know that their child can be saved, but they don’t have the means to save them.
Over the years, Genesis Foundation has supported children suffering from cancer. These children come from all parts of India, from both, big cities as well as small towns. Most children meeting the Foundation’s criteria are usually found through partner organisations (significantly, orphanages and other NGOs) and medical camps. Often, though, it is the hospital themselves that reach out to the Foundation for support for the children that may have come there for treatment.
Once the child-in-need has been identified, the Foundation takes a two-pronged approach. On the one hand it releases funds to the hospital to meet the child’s immediate medical needs, and on the other hand, it prepares funds for consults with the child’s doctors for further treatment that may be necessary. Every small and big contribution helps. Journeys of several miles all begin with the first step. So it is critical for all of us to come forward and work together to support these children and their families.
The fight is tough and the soldiers too few, with heart-break lurking just around the corner at all times. That heart-break is what we are working to alleviate. We want YOUR help in making that happen. In some cases, we have been successful, and in others, we soldier on.