There’s one side of the world where humanity is disappearing while there are also people who give up everything for a sake of better life and future. Similar profile is of Young Fighters Foundation Fund, where the team works for the cure of Childhood Cancer. Even we can do a part of kind that they are onto, How? Here’s what they have to tell you, me and everyone!
“So what do we do now?”, I asked, pleadingly.
“Well, his blood cancer was already very difficult to control, and now that it is back, there is no more treatment we can offer him here, he will have the best chance at surviving if he undergoes a bone marrow transplant”, Dr. Desai stated emphatically.
“But he is only 7 years old! And 20 lakh rupees? How is his family going to come up with that amount? They have already used up all their resources and funds in the past 2 years for his cancer treatment”, I stuttered out through rolling tears.
Sighing, Dr. Desai said, “I am afraid we have no other options then”.
“No other options” -these words echoed in my mind again and again- and I could hear no more. I felt that everything was spinning around me, and yet, time had stopped moving…
Nearly 200,000 cases of childhood cancer occur every year, 80% of children with cancer live in developing countries- 50,000 cases of childhood cancer occur every year in India alone! The survival rate of childhood cancer is 70-95% in developed countries but is drastically less in the developing world- for example, in India, survival rates for childhood cancer are <70%, in Egypt 40-60%, ~20% in Africa and dropping to 5-10% in Bangladesh! Inadequate medical resources, lack of access to newer cutting-edge breakthroughs and investigational protocols, exorbitant costs of treatment and deficient supportive care system all contribute toward high rate of death associated with childhood cancer in the developing regions. Developing countries lack education, awareness and resources. Adult cancer has tremendous community and industry support, but unfortunately childhood cancer goes under-recognized. Most people aren’t aware about the burden of childhood cancer, those who are aware, cannot help because of income issues.
“No other options”- ten years ago, these three words etched into my soul and I decided to pledge my life to studying and curing childhood cancer. I came to USA and completed pediatric residency training followed by pediatric oncology fellowship training and now am a pediatric oncologist and bone marrow transplanter in one of the renowned children’s hospitals in the world.
And now, it’s time to pay it forwards.
With the help of family and friends, a team of 9 of us spread over India, Africa, Egypt, Australia and USA, founded “Young Fighters Foundation Fund”- a tax-exempt non-profit public charitable organization registered with State of Pennsylvania, USA, with a mission a) to create awareness about lack of healthcare resources and treatment options for childhood cancer in developing countries, b) to raise funds to provide financial help for medical resource development for childhood cancer in developing countries, and c) to provide financial support to families of children with cancer in developing countries enabling them to afford health care resources.
Being a pediatric oncologist, I take care of children with cancer every day. It is heartbreaking to tell a parent that your child will not survive this disease because the standard treatment is not available locally or because the family can’t afford it. Being a parent myself, I recognize that this is not what any parent should ever have to go through. Children are our future and if we have treatment for a disease, it should be available to EVERY CHILD no matter where they live.
Having an organization outside the boundaries of the developing regions can help build bridges, can translate into an exponential impact from the financial standpoint and can help overcome the obstacle of local financial limitations.
We can do this, but we can’t do this alone. Support us so we can support the ones who need support. Spread the word. Donate. Help us fundraising.
Help us in “Turning Hopes Into Cures”.
Our foundation: Young Fighters Foundation Fund ®
Mala Talekar, MD, Pediatric oncologist, Philadelphia, USA
Kiran Talekar, MD, Neuroradiologist, Philadelphia, USA
Dixit Awtani, Personal Lending Manager, Banking, Australia
Dheepa Awtani, Personal Banker, Mrs. India Global Charming 2016, Editor-In-Chief BYSQ Itz Showtime!, Australia
Amit Shewani, Software Engineer, Developer, Mumbai, India
Gopal Shewani, Kisna Laminaters, (Retired) Bank Manager, Thane, India
Shankar Talekar, (Retired) Additional Commissioner of Sales Tax, Thane, India
Franson Davis, General Manager, Cinemas, Lagos, Nigeria
Jeetendra Ashok Kumar Awtani, Canon Global Industries, Amreya, Alexandria, Egypt