Marching for a Cause

To create awareness about the ill-effects of tobacco use, on “World No Tobacco Day”, the Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre organized a Walkathon which brought together over 1200 people. The most heartening aspect of this was to see so many youngsters joining the march!

By Nigar

It is nice to always look at the positive aspects of life, people, places and even cities. Bangalore has its share of chaos, crimes, traffic jams, pollution, insensitivity and poverty. Looking at the brighter side of the city, it also has humanitarian hospitals like the Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, dedicated to the field of cancer cure and research, by ensuring that high quality care reaches the common man, even to the poorest of the poor. May 31, 2014 happened to be “World No Tobacco Day” and that’s when I received a call a day earlier, from the community oncology department at the Sri Shankara Hospital to join the “Walkathon” organized by the hospital and ably supported by Can Aid, a wing of Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation comprising of volunteers to support and serve the cause of preventing, treating, and curing cancer..
With health, wellness and healing, being causes close to my heart, I landed at Lalbagh West Gate at 8 am on a Saturday and was amazed to see how the hospital had motivated over 1200 people of Bangalore from various walks of life, professionals, home makers, doctors, social workers, the NCC, hotel groups and the largest majority of students, boys and girls, from various colleges in Bangalore and of course, little kids to be part of the cause. Lot of hard work had gone into the placards displaying appeals to give up smoking and harmful effects of chewing various forms of tobacco, leading to cancer.
Donning blue caps the 1200 and odd organized group set off on their toes led by Ananth Kumar, Member of Parliament, Bangalore, South, who inaugurated the Walkathon, accompanied by his wife Tejaswini, and Dr B.S. Srinath, Managing Trustee of the Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital.
Covering most of the core parts of Bangalore, the 1200 strong crowd marching through the roads of Bangalore with an appeal to people to stop the killer tobacco use, did send waves of acknowledgement as the traffic stopped patiently for the walkers to cross the roads. The hospital had also organized patients who had gone through the trauma of cancer, to speak out their experiences.
After over an hour of walking, we reached the Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital to be welcomed with refreshments and certificates for the students.
Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals. Many are known to be harmful substances, including tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, benzene, formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide. More than 50 of these chemicals cause cancer. What keeps smokers smoking and chewers chewing? Many smokers want to quit, but find it very difficult. Amidst this scenario, the initiative by the Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital to create awareness through a walkathon is indeed to be greatly appreciated and emulated by others.
Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation is a not-for-profit organization whose core focus is on cure and prevention of cancer. The Foundation is in the process of establishing the 600-bedded hospital – Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SSCHRC) with the main objective of providing state-of-the-art treatment to all cancer patients at affordable costs irrespective of caste, creed, or socio-economic status. It is the first charitable cancer hospital in the country to provide state-of-the-art equitable treatment to all cancer patients, including free treatment to the poorest of the poor. The hospital provides anti-cancer medication at highly subsidized prices (between 30 percent to 40 percent). The hospital would be providing dormitory accommodation to the relatives of patients who will be trained as care providers. They would be trained to take care of the patients and dormitories would be provided adjacent to the wards, with free food.
The hospital stands apart for its unique facility of an exclusive 60 bedded pediatric cancer centre that would be coming up shortly, a first effort of its kind in the country. The hospital is planning to open a large oncologic research facility within the hospital building. The Community Oncology Wing of SSCHRC is reaching out to the society, in particular the rural areas, through free cancer detection camps, awareness programmes and tele-oncology as an effort to detect cancer early, and also to prevent cancer- a major community oncology endeavour.
The Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation is founded by Trustees with rich experience. Headed by Dr. B.S. Srinath, a reputed surgical oncologist with over 35 years of service to cancer patients, Dr. H.S. Nagaraja, a renowned educationist, is the Founder-Director of BASE, an 18 year student training institution with over 150 faculty members and is focused on enabling superior level achievement among the brightest students, Dr. K.N. Shankara, former director in ISRO, is an eminent space scientist, Tejaswini Ananth Kumar, a software engineer, philanthropist and social worker, who spearheads the activities of “Annapurna”, an NGO, which feeds 2.5 lakh school children every day, in Bangalore, Hubli, Gulbarga and Jodhpur. Abhinav Ramanand, young and dynamic advocate is involved in supporting social development causes for the needy and suffering and Anil Kumble, cricketer, with a passion for building a good society.
The 600 bedded spaciously laid-out hospital would have all amenities with 60 beds dedicated for free treatment to the really poor and economically weaker sections of the society.
A one hour walkathon may have not changed the tobacco users, but it must have at least kindled the conscience of a few, who must have wondered about how important their health was as compared to the temporary pleasure they acquire from a smoke or chewing a packet of tobacco.
After all, the goal of our lives is not to change the world or change anybody, but just convey the good things and leave the rest to God!
Joining the Walkathon was indeed a humbling experience for me.To feel for a cause is a comfortable dream, but actually coming out of your comfort zone and getting on the road to be part of a crowd to practically implement it, is to face reality head on. That’s what life is all about, is’nt it?
(For a deeper insight into the noble work of Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital, call 26981128 / 26981000 / 26981100 / 26981101 or email Bhavana Jhaveri at: [email protected]
Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, 1st Cross, Shankarapuram, Basavanagudi, Bangalore 560004)

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