India is combating cancer with superior treatments, networked care giving and financial aid. Yet, every year 10 lakh new cases are diagnosed in the country. About five lakh succumb to the disease annually.
While breakthrough advances are being made in diagnosis and treatment, cancer is galloping ahead. Cancer among children and young adults has taken on severe proportions. They comprise 15 per cent of India’s cancer patients. Around 50,000 children are detected with the disease every year.
NDTV and Fortis have stepped in to create a nationwide cancer awareness and fundraising campaign – Health4U Cancerthon.
The campaign culminated in an eight-hour live fundraiser ‘Cancerthon’ in Mumbai. The first-of-its-kind live awareness campaign and fundraiser raised around Rs 3 crore for cancer patients.
Vikram Chandra, Group CEO of NDTV, anchored the event.
Celebrities such as Salman Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Kajol, Arjun Kapoor, Manisha Koirala, Anu Malik, Pankaj Udhas, Mohit Chauhan, Kailash Kher, Yuvraj Singh, Minissha Lamba, Diana Hayden, Ali Fazal, Priya Dutricha Chadda, Neeraj Shridhar, RJ Sidhu, Ehsaan Noorani, Emraan Hashmi, Ram Naik, NDTV's Co-Chairperson Prannoy Roy, along with Fortis Executive Chairman Malvinder Mohan Singh and Executive Vice-Chairman Shivinder Mohan Singh, were present at the event.
“Sometimes children come to us in the last stage of cancer and you find them still so full of life. They are not burdened with despair,” said Salman Khan. He added, “These children are the real heroes as they manage to fight and kick cancer out of their bodies.”
“Cancer is not scary as everybody makes it out to be and it's truly an awareness that we need to spread. It can be controlled,” said Kajol.
Cricketer Yuvraj Singh interacted with cancer survivors in Panchkula as part of this campaign. He said, “As a cancer survivor, it was very inspiring to meet all these courageous people who are battling the disease. On my own journey of beating cancer, I learnt an important lesson – cancer is detectable and curable. Ninety per cent of cancers are curable, if detected in the first stage. To ensure that no one has to fight cancer alone, my NGO YouWeCan is helping create consciousness on cancer prevention, early detection and the fight against the stigma. It is an initiative which I am proud of and involved in 24x7. With your support and love we all will make it happen.’’
Actor Shahid Kapoor said, “Every woman must go for breast cancer screenings regularly and the men should support them and make them comfortable.”
Vikram Chandra said, “Why do over 90,000 children die annually from cancer and how can this be stopped? I am pleased that today’s Cancerthon, with generous contribution of their time by experts, has given us a better understanding of the research and awareness being done towards finding safer treatments and cures for this disease. In partnership with Fortis Healthcare, the Cancer Society and CanKids, we will give hope to many more children and end their suffering.”
“The incidence of cancer has increased over many years. India contributes to 7.5 per cent of cancer cases globally and 8 per cent of global cancer deaths happen in India. Due to under-diagnosis and under-detection, the actual scale of the problem is at least twice or thrice the reported numbers. With the current lifestyles that people are leading, it becomes all the more important for us to focus on doing what's right from a prevention perspective so that we minimise the risk of cancer. Childhood cancers are immensely curable, if detected in time. Whilst we make the best of treatment available to them, raising funds for those who can't afford the treatment has been one of the key objectives of this campaign,” said Malvinder Mohan Singh, Executive Chairman, and Shivinder Mohan Singh, Executive Vice-Chairman, of Fortis Healthcare in a joint statement.
The funds raised through this initiative will be utilised by the campaign's knowledge and implementation partner, The Indian Cancer Society, towards pediatric cancer treatments.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Simardeep Singh Arora, CIPLA, Arun Bharat Ram, Mohit Chauhan and HDFC Ltd donated for cancer patients.
Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Biocon; Arun Bharat Ram, SRF; YK Hameid, CIPLA; Satish Reddy, Dr Reddy's Labs; Rajashree Birla; Gopal Vittal, Bharti-Airtel; Dr SH Advani; Dr P Jagannath; Dr Vinod Raina; Dr Naveen Dang; Dr VK Paul; Dr Priya Ranachandran; Dr Mohamned Rela; Dr Sharat Damodar; Dr Samir Parikh; Dr Rajiv Sarin; Dr Mamen Chandy; Dr GPI Singh; Dr Preet K Dhillon; Dr P Kurkure and Dr Carl June were also present.