Life for children undergoing the long drawn
out treatment for cancer revolves around trips to the treatment centre and
hospitals. In order to ease the monotony a little bit, CPAA was invited to
run playgroups at various hospitals. CPAA introduced art to distract the
children's mind from their cancer related stress. We found that art could
be used to help children voice their feelings and encourage communication.
A study was done on how to use art as a therapeutic process. Given below
is the oral and slide presentation made by Vinaya Chacko, Director,
Patients Care Department at the 38th Congress of the International Society
of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP) Geneva, 17-21 September 2006.
A diagnosis of cancer in your child is
devastating and probably the most distressing situation a parent will ever
face. The parent must find the strength to adjust to this stressful
situation. Coping is the effort made by an individual in order to adjust.
Over the years, CPAA has interacted and helped countless parents to deal
with their children's diagnosis and treatment for cancer and learnt from
the techniques used by them to help other parents. Given below is the
presentation on the topic made by Meghana Suchak, Counseling Psychologist,
CPAA at the ICCCPO Regional Meeting - ASIA, 5-7 April 2007 in Bali.
Cancer treatment can be a huge drain on family finances, even for the relatively well off. Through whatever limited funds we have, we try to disburse medical aid to as many patients as possible. We also find sponsors, help patients network with aid-giving organizations, guide them about circulating appeals in the proper channels, and organize medicines at wholesale rates through a tie-up with chemists and pharmaceutical companies.
A sincere young man, he was determined to study and use that education to improve his life, but all available funds were being used for his father's treatment. CPAA appealed to Asian Paints Charitable Trust and the N.M. Budhrani Trust and an education grant was granted. CPAA also spoke to the coaching classes on his behalf. As a result, the fees were reduced and the administrator agreed to take special interest in Santosh's education.
The Ernest Borges Memorial Home in Bandra, Mumbai, is a five story building affiliated to Tata Memorial Hospital. The Home provides accommodation for out-station patients while they are undergoing treatment at Tata Memorial Hospital. Every budget is catered to, from the almost free dormitory to five star accommodation with suites. There is also a free bus service to Tata Memorial Hospital, 4 times a day, which is a great help to patients undergoing treatment. Admission is given through the Social Work Department at Tata Memorial Hospital.
Ernest Borges Home shelters a number of children undergoing treatment at Tata Memorial Hospital. On the behest of Mr. Badwe, Superintendent of the Home we run a playgroup for the cancer affected children, whose lives revolve around trips to Mumbai and to and from the hospital. These kids miss out on the normal activities that other children take for granted. CPAA got in touch with Mrs. Neerja Birla who had earlier adopted many patients under our 'Adopt-a-Cancer-Patient’ Scheme and so began the Neerja Playgroup. The first contribution paid for a cupboard and toys.
Subsequently a fixed sum has been spent every month on toys, sweets and treats for the children. CPAA representatives go to the Home every Thursday between 3.30 pm and 6.30 pm to play with the children, and impart some amount of non-formal education. Volunteers from St. Xaviers College Social League have been roped in to teach them arts and crafts. Recently, at the request of CPAA, A.H. Wheeler, publishers, have been donating a large number of Hindi paperbacks for the adult inmates as well as the children.
Leukemia patients and those undergoing surgery need to arrange for blood, and that’s not always easy. Very often, in India, even the patient’s friends and family are reluctant to donate blood because of misconceptions about it causing harm. The fear of AIDS has exacerbated the situation. CPAA maintains a databank of willing donors, along with their blood groups. In an emergency, our employees have themselves donated blood. We also try to mobilize donations among the patients’ community, reassuring them that blood donation is perfectly safe.
Leukemia patients also sometimes need transfusion of platelets, the blood cells that help in clotting. This involves passing the donors blood through a cell separator, which extracts the platelets in a process called plateletpheresis, delivers them to the patient, and returns the rest of the blood to the donors’ body. Since only a part of the blood is actually transferred, platelet donation can be done more often than the once in six months allowed for blood donation.
If you are willing to be put on CPAA’s donor list, click here.
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