“Unto us a child is born, a son is given”. Christmas is round the corner and the season of Joy is ushered in as the preparation gets under way to revisit and celebrate the greatest event that has transformed countless lives and has rewritten the destiny of mankind.
Christmas is a special time of exchanging gifts as expressions of love, affection or gratitude. A group of Christians, including the women from Sacred Heart Church Commission for women, students and teaching staff from Christ PU Composite College converged at Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology on Sunday December 10 to put into practice the message of Christmas.
Christians from various walks of life go out of the way to demonstrate that with all the fun, frolic and festivity. It also means sharing with the less privileged and the unfortunate in the society. They do something different at Christmas time and continue to do it throughout the year. Everyone feels good to be part of Christmas programmes. However, the experience that Kidwai visiting group had on Sunday was unique and Ms Matilda D’souza, a social worker and an activist said after the visit that the group had no words to describe it.
Leukemia or Blood cancer is the second most common cancer among children in India. Thanks to the excellent treatment protocol at Kidwai, most of the patients are better off. The children who are brought to Kidwai for treatment from all over the state and country spend about eight months for the first phase of treatment.
World class treatment regimen combined with the skills of the super specialists, the love and care of all the staff and visitors alleviates the pain and suffering of the children. The survival ratio is excellent when the treatment commences on time. Kidwai is a premier cancer care hospital with the best panel of pediatric oncologists in the country. The treatment is free for the BPL patients and subsidized for the others who pay only a fraction of what it costs in private hospitals.
“Compassionate Clowns” is a group of volunteers of young boys and girls who meet every Sunday to entertain the children in the outdoor play area. The interactions pep up their drooping spirits and bring them cheer. Each child craves to be hugged and carried and the monotony of isolation is broken.
The children enjoy the activities carried out and the visitors often feel overwhelmed with emotion when they play with the kids and entertain them. The young children touch our hearts and give a new perspective to our lives says, Ms Reena Justin, a Karate instructor and entrepreneur. All of them form part of a volunteer group from Sanman Foundation.
Sanman works with the patients at Kidwai throughout the year. The volunteers assist the people from far flung areas with moral and financial support. Being with them at the time of loneliness and suffering is considered a great morale booster. To ensure regular supply of blood for the needy, Sanman in association with Kidwai Blood Bank conducts periodic blood donation camps at work places, educational institutions and community gatherings. The blood collected from such camps is given free to the Cancer patients at Kidwai.
We got to see all the human emotions at one place of pain, suffering, hope, courage, and joy, said Maria Subramaniam, a volunteer.
Abraham Chandy, ex-serviceman and full time employee of an MNC in Bangalore holds the fort at Kidwai on Saturdays and Sundays. He is the face of Sanman attending to all the needs of the patients and addressing queries from the families. To quote him, he says, “This place is the biggest Temple, Gurudwar, Mosque or Church.”
The diverse roles of volunteer services available vary from instructors, counsellors, patient guides and other assistance such as filling forms, to do railway concession formalities and entertainers or just a person who can listen to the patients and their families to help them get over the tough time.
Sanman is a growing network of individuals and professionals in Bangalore who have come forward to offer their services voluntarily to provide support and help to the existing network of palliative care organizations and also to assist families and patients for curative and palliative care. Peter Morris is an active volunteer and social worker who enjoys the toings and froings, contributing his bit in all such humanitarian schemes and ventures.
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