Tuesday, 27 September 2016

[www.keralites.net] After Charity Con, a touching story!


AFTER CHARITY CON, A TOUCHING STORY OF MUMBAIKARS' GENEROSITY - Rich at heart, their small gifts boost cancer care!

Jyoti Shelar

A phone booth owner with physical disability has been donating Rs 50 every few months to Tata Memorial Hospital

A woman from a middle-class family saved Rs 25 from her daily household spend for 40 days and sent a cheque of Rs 1,000 to the country's top cancer treatment facility

Another man with a meagre income dropped off a cheque of Rs 100 with a heartwarming letter on his endeavour to help cancer-stricken children

Two weeks after a cancer char ity con sparked outrage and deepened many people's cyn icism about the city, inspira tional stories of generosity from everyday Mumbaikars emerged on Tuesday.

For months now, citizens with barely enough resources to support their own families have been sending small amounts of cash, food packets, fruits, and other items for cancer patients receiving care at Tata Memorial Hospital.

The small but important contributions have lifted the spirits of the patients, most of whom are poor, and the medical staff, who urged the city's affluent members to give more to charity.

The Parel hospital sees 60,000 new cancer patients every year. Patients from struggling families are treated without charge. Their care is funded by individual donors and corporates.Despite significant contributions, the hospital needs more resources to care for the growing number of people with cancer, whose treatments are long and expensive.

Many big-hearted citizens with nominal incomes are trying to fill the gap with whatever they can spare in a city that was earlier this year ranked as the world's 17th most expensive place to live in.

Andheri resident Hemant Mishra, who runs one of the last surviving public phone booths in the city, visited the hospital thrice last year to make three donations of Rs 50 each.The 51-year-old with a physical disability earns around Rs 25 a day.

"Today, almost everyone has a mobile; there is no money in the pay phone business. But I try to contribute whatever little I can to cancer care," he said. Despite his daily struggles, Mishra decided to donate to good causes after he lost his mother to brain cancer in 1994. "Everyone should try to do some charity. It's an emotionally rewarding experience," Mishra said.

During one of his visits to the hospital, he dropped off a signed letter addressed to doctors and the management, saying: "Aap dayalu ho (You are very kind and generous)."

A Pune resident, who sent a cheque of Rs 100, also penned a heartwarming note. "My earnings are meagre, but I want to contribute to the great work you do and for the cause of treating cancer-stricken children," the good Samaritan wrote.

Tata Memorial's paediatric department runs a large programme to fund treatment of poor patients and offer nutritional meals.

A 54-year-old Christian woman, who struggles to support her family, contributed Rs 1,000 to the programme recently. "My husband lost his job three months ago and it's very tough to manage with my salary. I have health problems, but god is great and I am able to get up every morning and go to work," reads the letter attached to the cheque sent by the woman, who lives in Goregaon.

"For Lent, some people give up eating meat, while some make small sacrifices. I thought of saving Rs 25 every day during the 40-day period and donate the final amount to the paediatric unit."

Ram Gopal Yadav, whose daughter Annu is undergoing treatment for bone cancer at Tata Memorial, thanked small and big donors for funding her care. "I would have never been able to pay for the treatment, which costs over Rs 5 lakh. My daughter is receiving care because of the generous people of Mumbai," Yadav, a small-time painter from UP, said.

The acts of giving by ordinary citizens stand in sharp contrast to the actions of two men who sought donations on local trains for a three-yearold cancer patient. The two men, who showed a fake Tata Memorial certificate to commuters, didn't transfer any collected money for the child's treatment. The cheats are members of a group that has collected Rs 10 lakh in the name of cancer treatment, but has not transferred any funds to the intended recipients.

Humayun Jafri, Tata Memorial's public relations officer, said would-be donors should be wary of frauds, and make contributions directly to the hospital. He lauded the efforts by people like Mishra to make a difference."It's a very touching gesture by Mishra. The staff has developed a bond with him. Recently, he informed us through a letter that his father had passed away," Jafri said.

Shalini Jatia, secretary of Improving Paediatric Cancer Care and Treatment (ImPaccT) Foundation, which was set up by Tata Memorial in 2010, said apart from small amounts of cash, everyday Mumbaikars also send nutritious food.

"Last week, a woman donated Rs 300. People have also sent packets of chocolates and protein biscuits," Jatia."One time, a 13-year-old patient handed the staff Rs 200 for the hospital fund. He didn't know his treatment was being funded by ImPaccT."

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