Rathinam College
Vol 5 Issue 16, Apr 18 - 24, 2014
    Citizen Reporters      |   | Submit Story
Green WarriorsSocial EntrepreneursUnsung Heroes

‘Chattai therapy’, a novel method of helping children with cancer forget pain

   By  Rahul Chhabra
   New Delhi
23 Apr 2014
Posted 01-Feb-2013
Vol 4 Issue 5

On a sunny, winter morning, a group of about two dozen children, between the ages of three and 12, clap and recite poems along with an instructor in a courtyard outside the out-patients-department at the AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), one of Asia's largest research and referral hospitals.
It's that brief, transient tranquility in a day fraught with pain and uncertainty.

As they get busy, they momentarily forget that their parents have queued up outside a counter at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (it treats about 10,000 patients every day) to take them through the traumatic and, often, painful drill of cancer detection and treatment.

Cankids volunteers with child cancer patients at AIIMS

For most of the young cancer patients, a bulk of whom are from other states, the congregation on the chattai, or simple reed mats, and related activities are the only pleasant memories they carry home after a painful day at the hospital.

"I enjoy the fun activity here," Mohammed Rehan, 3, a resident of Alamganj in Bihar's capital Patna, who has blood cancer, said.

The young patient acknowledges the gains from the chattai "clinic". Behind it is the complex exercise of relaxation and group therapies, along with motivational and self-esteem modules, prepared by volunteers and the education team of NGO Cankids Kidscan.

Saloni, 6, suffering from throat cancer, is also a regular at the chattai meetings during visits to the hospital from her house in Delhi's Shalimar Bagh neighbourhood.

"Papa takes me to doctor inside when my turn comes; till then I spend time here," Saloni, whose father is a driver, said.

The two bravehearts fighting cancer are not alone. There are many others like them who attend about seven weekly chattai sessions catering to 300 children outside several cancer OPDs at AIIMS.

Poonam Bagai, chairperson of Cankids, said: "Our chattai sessions are in the open intentionally, as we want to create awareness and invite public inquiries."

"One aspect of the exercise is to distract the child from the sometimes painful treatment drill and impart some craft and learning skills," she said.

"A child breathes easy when he is away from the ward where he is forced to see other cancer patients in suffering," said the head of Cankids, herself a cancer survivor.

The NGO engages teachers to impart informal education and skills during the children's period of treatment. This, in particular, helps reintegration into schooling and society generally, once treatment is completed.

The NGO offers emotional support to patients' parents and extends financial assistance for their treatment.

As Manoj Kumar Gujela, Cankids' senior programme officer, put it: "No child should suffer for want of treatment because of lack of finance."

Bagai, the brain behind the arrangement with the AIIMS' authorities for helping cancer-afflicted kids, said similar arrangements were being put in place in 29 cancer centres across the country.

According to a 2009 article in Indian Journal of Cancer, childhood cancer contributes to less than five percent of the total cancer burden in India, with approximately 45,000 children diagnosed with cancer every year. In developed countries, 80 to 95 percent of children with cancer are cured.

Many of the volunteers are themselves survivors or parents of kids who overcame the disease or lost the battle against it while being supported by the NGO. They are a part of the NGO's Parent Support Group (PSG) and are empowered to become skilled advocates and navigators - who help patients during their hospital visits, Bagai said.

Sandhya Prashar, mother of Vedant, 15, who survived stomach cancer four years ago, still remembers the help she received from Cankids during her family's ordeal.
"Now we take the patient's family members through the complicated procedures of obtaining treatment at the hospital and save them from getting lost in a maze," said Prashar.

Kapil Chawla, 29, who fought cancer in the neck over a decade ago, now serves the organisation as a regular volunteer. He like many other teenagers and young adult survivors have formed KidsCan Konnect - a group of childhood cancer ambassadors.

"I joined them as I realise the importance of the effort that goes into making the kids comfortable," said the resident of east Delhi, who prepares modules for spreading awareness among patients and society. - IANS



Print  |  Email  | 
 Share   

You might also like:

Toxic veggies

The soft, shiny red tomatoes or the green leafy veggies might be tempting to the eyes, but there lies something sinister beneath - a toxic concoction of hazardous chemicals, says Sahana Ghosh

Read More

Take her seriously

Never take your woman for granted, and show her that you care. These are two tips that Kushbhu Sundar, TWL’s Features Editor, gives for men who would like to prevent their women from straying

Read More

Stephen Cars
FPJs Meet Vidyaakar
adyar bakery
 
TWL Campaign



Popular Stories

Benign borrow

Entire India will soon come under the cover of Arogya Finance that lends money for the poor to go for medical treatment. Supported by social venture funds, Arogya is in nine States and has helped over 400 persons, says Kavita Kanan Chandra

Read More

Pet project

‘Rickshaw Bank’ is a project that helps rickshaw pullers. It was born out of a conversation Pradip Kumar Sarmah, a veterinarian, who had taken animal health care to rural areas in Assam, had with a rickshaw puller, says Souzeina S Mushtaq

Read More

Power of waste

Namakkal in Tamil Nadu is known for poultry, among other things. But not many know of a poultry owner generating electricity from chicken droppings, whose disposal was once a headache. P C Vinoj Kumar explains the innovation and the business

Read More

Action cop

His was a career dedicated to fight graft, through unconventional methods. Now the former cop is advisor to the anti-corruption cell of Aam Aadmi Party. Souzeina S Mushtaq profiles N Dilip Kumar, called as ‘action hero’ by a news magazine

Read More

Natives’ return

The return of Sabbah Haji and her family to their hometown in Kashmir’s Doda district has helped local children as the school started in 2009 is still growing. Afsana Rashid finds the school running with the help of volunteers from outside

Read More

Short and strong

Joby Mathew stands 3 feet, 5 inches tall. But he has beaten men taller than him in arm wrestling and won even the world championship. Kavita Kanan Chandra finds that hard work, discipline and determination are the secrets behind his success

Read More

At the grassroots

A group of social workers in the temple town of Kanchipuram meet every week to chart their down to earth projects. All of them teetotalers, not by scheme, they work at the grassroots level but seek no external aid. P C Vinoj Kumar meets them

Read More

Bangalore 15

Besides being a cosmopolitan city, which is a bustling IT hub, also known for fine weather, Bangalore has more for a visitor, says Sudha Narasimhachar, giving a list of 15 must visit places

Read More

Mountain girl

In the chilly heights of Ladakh, Thinlas Chorol stands out as a social entrepreneur, trekking guide, ice hockey player and a writer rolled into one. Her remarkable role is changing the face of tourism up there, says Kavita Kanan Chandra

Read More

Water Wheel

Fetching water takes such considerable time for rural women that they expend most of their time and energy on that. But ‘Water Wheel’, a recent innovation, is ushering a change in the lives of women in some villages, says Souzeina S Mushtaq

Read More
 
Kudos image

"The Weekend Leader not only gives a glimpse of the better things happening around us but also tells stories of people who made it possible.”

Ajay Chaturvedi, Entrepreneur More Kudos
 
Archives  |   Columns  |   About Us  |   Contact Us  |   Feedback  |   Response  |     |   Cheers!  |   Support Us  |   Friends of Positive Journalism
© Copyright The Weekend Leader.com, 2010. All rights reserved.