LIFE

Conquering cancer

Hope wins over illness .

Hope wins over illness .  

YOU COULD call it a celebration of victory over fear and illness... a time to happily celebrate new beginnings rather than despondently brood over the past and ``what might have been''.

For a few dozen cancer patients who had gathered at Annapoorna Kalaiarangam, it was literally a celebration of a ``new life'', because all of them had conquered cancer and successfully fought off the feeling of hopelessness that often grips people when they hear of the illness.

It was ``Cancer Survivors Day'', celebrated by the Vasantha Memorial Trust, an organisation for cancer care and cure. There was a live orchestra on stage, belting out lilting tunes to keep up the celebratory mood, and the cultural programmes were based on the theme: Laughter, the best medicine.

All the ``survivors'' gathered on stage for a group photograph, along with . Vijayalakshmi, Dean, Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital (CMCH), and G. K. Ramamurthy, Managing Trustee, GKR Charities, Mumbai, and a patron of the Trust.

There was happiness and hope all around, in keeping with the motto of the Trust: ``It takes a heart to conquer cancer.'' Along with the ``survivors'' were their close relatives and friends, who had been steadfastly by their side, from the time the illness had been diagnosed until the time it was stamped out altogether.

In keeping with the spirit of celebrations, there were sweets to go around, and music cassettes containing inspiring songs by classical musicians like Sudha Raghunathan, P. Unnikrishnan, and Nithyashree Mahadevan.

Music cassettes have been one of the ways in which the Trust has been collecting funds for cancer treatment. First launched in 1998, the ``Heart for Cancer Carnatic Nite'' has become a much-awaited event for music lovers.

Would you believe that the Trust started out with a capital of just Rs. 2500? That's how it was, and they have been able to carry out their activities through ``small contributions from a large number of persons''.

J. Ramanathan, Managing Trustee, says the Trust has so far sponsored 19 patients for treatment of acute leukaemia, nine for chronic leukaemia, 11 for lymphoma, six for other blood cancers, and 13 for solid tumours in the breast, cervix and cheek.

Conquering cancer

When dealing with cancer, there's need for all-round care for the patient, so the Trust organises counselling sessions, meditation and entertainment... and also encourages hobbies as a means of taking the patient's mind away from unnecessary negative thoughts.

Above all, the Trust encourages patients to meet each other and speak about their experiences. Invariably, such sessions end up with everyone getting intensely involved, and gaining a lot of relief at knowing that they are not alone in grappling with the unknown.

There was one such ``sharing of experiences'' session at the function, and several of the survivors came out with moving stories of the restless days and night they had lived through, before hope came to the rescue and lifted their mood and spirit.

Want to do your share to bring relief to a cancer patient? Drop a line to: G-4, Anugraha Apartments (near Mani's Theatre), Peelamedu, Coimbatore-641 004. Otherwise, dial: 578026, 591182 or 98422-89370. Or e-mail: ``ramanjay@md3.vsnl.net.in''

By A. A. Michael Raj Photo : K. Ananthan

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