Read our patient stories to know how each cup of chai raised to our cause is used to support those in need.
Join the Chai for Cancer 2021 campaign by raising your cup and drinking to a cause. Your one cup of chai will go a long way in helping a cancer patient live in dignity and hope!
Patient Story 1:
Vishnukant Bhau and his wife – there has not been even one time when this gentle, shy lady has not accompanied her husband to visit his treating oncologist and then come to Bombay to collect the medicines – all the way from Parbhani. No matter summer or monsoons, no cutting corners when it came to his comfort. He calls her “his pillar” on whom he can lean whenever he feels the need. Both of them were moist eyed yesterday when they spoke of all the care they have received from their doctor and from Chai for Cancer and The Max Foundation.
Each cup of chai raised goes towards supporting cancer patients and ensuring they have access to medications and treatment, allowing them to live with dignity and hope.
Patient Story 2:
The little boy who usually would be full of good cheer when he visited us to collect his medication was visibly upset. His mother too seemed very disturbed. Upon gentle probing, I found out that he had to be taken out of school. At first they wouldn’t tell me more; and then the father said they had had to choose between getting the child’s monitoring tests done and paying the next six months’ school fees. Neither the lab nor the school would allow any flexibility in payment.
“What to do Madam,” he cried. “You tell me what you would have done?”
Raise your cup of Chai and dedicate it to getting vital monitoring tests done for a young school boy so that he does not have to choose between his blood tests and his school.
Patient Story 3:
It was a hot May afternoon, the sun fierce and unrelenting and almost no breeze to speak of. Despite the Arabian Sea kissing almost all of the coastline, the city of Bombay was by now sizzling. He walked into our office dripping with sweat, panting and struggling to wipe his moist brow with his already damp neck kerchief. His shirt and trousers were sticking to him and if it weren’t for a fact that we knew the sun was shining outside, we could have easily believed he had been caught in a shower. His was a familiar face; a daily wage earner and migrant labourer who lived in the distant suburb of Malad and who worked at a construction site. His young son had been diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia and he had found this place to stay after great difficulty . He knew it was imperative that he bring his wife to the city from the village so they could both stay here and care for the child who was being treated in Bombay.
When it was time for the meds to be collected, the father would make the trip across the city having to take the day off thereby foregoing the day’s wages. Today was no different but his disheveled condition was worrisome. Upon some gentle probing, it turned out that not having enough money for the bus fare, he had borrowed a bicycle from a neighbour in the slum he lived in and cycled all the way – from Malad to Worli.
Chai for Cancer raises funds to support families who struggle to keep their children in treatment. Dedicate your morning cup of chai and make sure a father does not have to cycle miles in the hot son to collect his son’s medication.
Patient Story 4:
It was with a heavy heart the team decided to close his case. We hadn’t heard from him in many months; maybe well over a year even. Despite repeated calls and attempts to counsel and emphasise the importance of compliance, we had not seen him nor been able to make any contact. He was a farmer from the interiors of Maharashtra and his life had been a constant struggle.
A small holding where he grew vegetables, struggled with the vagaries of Mother Nature and tried his best to provide for his family of six. He was proud of the fact that he could send his children to school and even more proud that his young daughters as well his sons went to school. We had grown close to him, following up and being with him all throughout the eight odd years he had been with us. He was a role model for other patients and a regular at our support group meetings. We feared the worst and then he turned up!
He had taken a loan to make one long overdue trip to the city and see the doctor and collect his medication. He confessed to us that he was finding it more and more difficult to spend money on himself and could not afford the cost of the periodic tests his doctor said he needed to do. He dreaded going to his doctor. It meant denying his wife and daughters many basic necessities. He needed to also think of finding suitable grooms for his daughters. His sickness was taking too much away from his family.
The Chai you will pay for at a Chai for Cancer Adda will help restore the dignity of many elderly patients like this simple farmer and give him hope once again.
Patient Story 5:
Lakshmibai & her husband Reshmaji left their village in Parbani District last night to take an overnight train to Bombay & made their way straight to Tata Memorial Hospital so that they would not be late for her appointment with her Medical Oncologist.
They came to our office after the long OPD procedure at the hospital tired, thirsty & hungry. It has been a tough few months for them back in the village where Reshmaji tills his small plot of land. The drought, marriage expenses of their daughter & fees for the education of one of their two sons (the other helps his father in the farm) has meant that he has had to borrow money from the Sahukar, the money lender, in order to arrange funds for travel and tests and other sundry expenses.
“He charges 3% interest”, Reshmaji tells Prasad of the Max team in our Bombay office as he engages them in conversation while they have some Chai and biscuits. He is so grateful for the Glivec that he gets at no cost that he says he will do anything to ensure she continues on it.
Her life is his most precious gift, he said. When Viji Venkatesh shared this on the Chai for Cancer page, a friend of hers decided to contribute periodically so that there’d be no need to go to the money lender anymore and through her donations, we were able to support the couple with the finances required.
Yesterday, the couple visited us & what joy it was to meet them after all these months. The hardships of these two years & more can be seen on their visage but it was good to see Lakshmibai looking well and know she had been regular with her meds. Viji shared a photo of the couple with the friend who has immediately transferred her contribution for taking care of the expenses for this visit.
Patient Story 6:
The stoic Ram Babu, his pretty wife and young son were in Mumbai his periodic check-up at the Tata Hospital. Ram Babu is one of the reasons behind Chai for Cancer. Years ago, when he had been diagnosed with CML, he was very non-compliant – skipping his medicines and irregular with his follow up. Upon probing, Viji Venkatesh found out he had lost his job as a truck driver because the thekedar did not want a cancer patient around him. He had no money to travel to Bombay from his village in Bihar. Moreover, he was unable to swallow the capsule as it made him nauseous.
Viji asked him if he had shared this with his doctor. Yes, he had, and Doctor Sa’ab had advised him to have it with a glass of milk. “So why don’t you do that” Viji asked him.
“Ammaji”, he told her looking away, “if I had money to buy milk I’d give it to my little baby. I couldn’t drink it”. That day Viji decided there had to be a way to find funding for patients like Ram Babu who had no money to come and collect the medicines that were given to them at no cost.
And Chai for Cancer was born. The little baby is all grown up today and Ram Babu is doing as well he can. He comes very regularly now because he knows he will receive all the support he needs for travel and lodging in the city.
Patient Story 7:
Sudipa hails from Kharagpur and Bala from Latur. One famous for the longest railway platform as Sudipa tells Viji Venkatesh with a gleam in her eyes and the other for that monster of an earthquake in the early 90s. “I wasn’t even born then”, says Bala.
They meet for the first time today even though they’ve been coming to us regularly for the last few years. Sudipa a little longer as she was diagnosed six years ago. Yes, both these young teenagers are CML patients whose parents diligently bring them for their follow-up, no matter what it costs them in terms of time, effort and other resources. It is families like these that Chai for Cancer supports with donations received.
Patient Story 8:
“Papa aapko kabhi mujhpar gussa nahi aaya ke aisa baar baar mujhe Bombay leke aana padta hai?” Yamuna was diagnosed with CML when she was four. The 9th grader today is an avid reader and full of a sparkling kind of energy. We’ve seen her year after year coming for follow-ups to Tata.
Her father has been so diligent, never missing an appointment no matter what it took – leave of absence from his job included. After all these years, he says she posed this question to him – perhaps understanding only now completely what it means to manage her treatment and keep her healthy. Papa, don’t you ever get upset because you have to bring me to Bombay again and again like this? “Never ever have I been angry or upset with her and I never will be. I will do everything to make sure she studies hard and makes a life for herself,” her father says.
By contributing to Chai for Cancer, you help make many a father’s dream come true – like Yamuna’s father’s dream.
Patient Story 9:
Sanvika is the daughter of Barun Mandal, a CML patient. Barun was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia in 2006 and has been associated with Friends of Max since 2009, when he started receiving his supply of Glivec from the access program managed by The Max Foundation.
In 2018, when Barun lost his job as a stone polished with a jewellery maker, it put Sanvika’s education in jeopardy. This is where Chai for Cancer stepped in. So that Barun did not have to compromise with his treatment to send his daughter to school, CFC started taking care of Sanvika’s school fees and other related costs.
Today, she is a straight-A student at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School. Her proud parents visited our Mumbai office to show us her brilliant report card. Sanvika was recently promoted to the third grade and dreams of becoming a scientist and a doctor one day.
Chai for Cancer helps support the unmet needs of cancer patients such as their children’s education costs so that they do not have to compromise with their health in order to send their kids to school or college. Help us turn Sanvika’s dream into a reality.