Friday, June 22, 2012

Some make temples of stone and some make temples of humanity, love, compassion .....Alok

Some make temples of stone and some make temples of humanity, love, compassion .....Alok

Home away from home for cancer patients

Ranjani Rajendra, TNN Dec 28, 2008, 03.22am IST
MUMBAI: Shyamal Mandal wanted to do everything in his power to cure his only daughter of cancer. But exorbitant accommodation prices in the city proved to be a major deterrent.
Mandal was devastated when his only daughter, Tinku, was diagnosed with cancer two years ago. A farmer from Durgapur in West Bengal, Mandal was advised to bring Tinku to Mumbai for treatment. Although treatment at Tata Memorial Hospital came as a boon for the family, the high cost of living in the city only added to Mandal's woes.
"I had to sell my land back home to fund the trip to Mumbai. Initially, I had taken up a room at Rs 5,000 per month, but it was too expensive to continue there. At one time, I could not even afford a meal,'' said Mandal who had almost given up on continuing the treatment due to the lack of funds.
It was then that Tata Memorial Hospital authorities referred him to the St Jude India Childcare Centre, an organisation that provides a home away from home for people travelling to Mumbai for cancer treatment. Patients are provided free accommodation for as long as they need to stay in the city for treatment.
While St Jude caters specifically to children, there are many other such centres across the city providing either free accommodation or charging a nominal fee to patients coming from other cities. One such home is the Sant Gadge Maharaj Dharamshala in Dadar. Founded in 1985, this is one of the oldest centres for cancer patients. With 100 rooms, it houses 600 cancer patients, including their attendants. While the accommodation at the dormitory is available at Rs 10 per day for both the patient and attendant, a private room costs a nominal Rs 15. Patients can also buy a thali for Rs 3, or for those who cannot afford even that, it is given free.
The Tata Memorial Hospital runs the Dr Ernest Borges Memorial Home in Bandra that houses over 130 patients. While at places like the Borges home and the dharamshala, patients and their attendants are taught to decorate diyas, make rakhis and do embroidery, at the Bharat Sevashram Sangh in Vashi Gaon, the male attendants are allowed to help in gardening and other such activities at a daily wage of Rs 100.
Every centre has its own criteria for providing accommodation to the needy. "The families are referred to us by the Tata hospital. The basic criterion for providing them with accommodation is that the children have a chance of survival and come from a poor economic background,'' said Nihal Kaviratne, founder of St Jude.
While at all these centres, a majority of the patients are those undergoing treatment at the Tata hospital, the dharamshala and Bharat Sevashram also house those undergoing treatment at hospitals like Hinduja and Jaslok. "However, they are few as most of those seeking accommodation with us come from extremely poor backgrounds,'' said Prashant Deshmukh, manager at the dharamshala.
MIG Colony, Guru Nanak Hospital, Road No 4,Madhusudan Kalelkar Marg, Bandra East, Mumbai - 400051 | 

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