Television

NDTV Fortis Cancerthon raises funds for kids with Cancer

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MUMBAI: It is a rare person in this world who has not battled cancer - some of us directly, and almost all of us indirectly, through the pain of a loved one.

American scientist and physician Siddhartha Mukherjee calls it The Emperor of all Maladies. ''Cancer, we now know, is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth of a single cell... Cell division allows us as organisms to grow, to adapt, to recover, to repair — to live. And distorted and unleashed, it allows cancer cells to grow, to nourish, to adapt, to recover, and to repair — to live at the cost of our living.''

India is combating cancer with new cures, superior treatments, networked care giving and financial aid. Yet, every year 10 lakh new cases are diagnosed in India. About five lakh succumb to the disease annually. While breakthrough advances are being made in diagnosis and treatment, cancer is galloping ahead. What’s worse, cancer among children and young adults has taken on severe proportions. They comprise 15% of India’s cancer patients. No less than 50,000 children are detected with cancer every year. They are at the core of our cause.

The silver lining in the story is the immense support and care structure that backs up mainstream treatment. Raising awareness plays a large role. This is where NDTV and Fortis have stepped in to create a nationwide cancer awareness and fundraising campaign --- Health4U Cancerthon.

The campaign culminated in an 8-hour LIVE fundraiser CANCERTHON rolled from Yash Raj Studios, Mumbai. It brought together the entire nation to spread awareness and donate generously to the cause. The campaign successfully raised close to 3 crores for cancer patients.

Packed with stories of cancer survivors, medics talking about breakthrough treatment and detection and NGOs elaborating on the support required by patients and caregivers, it was a first-of-a-kind live awareness campaign and fundraiser.

Sharing their personal stories and professional expertise during the eight-hour event, anchored by Vikram Chandra, were film and television personalities, well-known singers, eminent doctors and cancer survivors. Celebrities included 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 Singh and Executive Vice-Chairman Shivinder Singh.

Indian actor, producer and philanthropist Salman Khan said, “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.”  Talking about the strength with which these children fight the disease he says, “These children are the real heroes 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, truly an awareness that we need to spread,  that listen, it can be controlled, you know it can be made better and the faster you get to it, faster you are able to eradicate it the problem. It’s as a simple as that”, said Kajol.

Indian cricketer Yuvraj Singh who interacted with cancer survivors in Panchkula, Haryana, as part of this campaign said, “As a cancer survivor, it was very inspiring to meet all these courageous people who are battling cancer. On my own journey of beating cancer, I learnt an important lesson - cancer is detectable and curable. 90% of cancers are curable if detected in stage one. 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 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 on the occasion said, “Every woman must go regularly for breast cancer screenings and the men should support them and make them comfortable so that they feel comfortable and don't hesitate for going for the tests.” 

Speaking on the occasion Vikram Chandra, Group CEO, NDTV said, “Why do over ninety thousand children die annually from childhood cancers and how can this be stopped? I am very 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 so many more children and end their suffering.”

Malvinder Mohan Singh, Executive Chairman Shivinder Mohan Singh, Executive Vice Chairman Fortis Healthcare in a joint statement, added “Clearly the incidence of cancers has increased over the last many years. India contributes to 7.5% of cancer cases globally and 8 % 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 minimize 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.” 

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 generously donated for cancer patients.

Among others present at the event were 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.

An integral part of it was Because You Can, a drive that motivates school children to collect gifts for kids with cancer,   supported by CanKids, our Knowledge Partner.

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