On this cancer day, Dr. Swapnil Mane has shared the dreams of five patients and appealed us all to help them fulfil them.
As a child, Dr Swapnil Mane was so moved by a cancer patient’s death due to lack of money, that he decided to become a cancer specialist and not let cancer patients die just because they could not afford the treatment.
He was following his mission with great difficulty when The Better India team came to know about his selfless gestures and shared his story with our readers two years ago.
After the story was published, many of our readers helped him start a charitable cancer hospital with all the amenities that can help poor cancer patients.
Today Dr Mane and his team have successfully completed 88 cancer camps, most of which were conducted in the remotest villages where people have never heard about even a doctor and had no clue about what cancer is!
“There have been places where there was no road connectivity, no electricity and no one who understood what a doctor or a nurse is. There have been camps where we have sat idle for days, and no one turned up for a check-up. But that only proved us right – these are the places where our camps are needed the most. It made our determination even stronger,” says Dr Mane.
Dr Mane’s team also includes his wife Dr Sonali Mane and their 4-year-old son Praneesh. There are days when the team has to walk up to five kms to the villages due to a lack of road connectivity.
Once they reach there, convincing the villagers for a check-up is also a big task.
For days they have to give home visits, find someone who can understand their language and translate that to the local language and help the villagers understand the importance of a regular check-up.
“Most villagers are superstitious when it comes to illness. But it’s not their fault. They have never seen a doctor before. They have never heard the word cancer and believe that worshipping a particular God/Goddess can cure their diseases. Moreover, there are ‘gurus’ who take advantage of such situations too,” says Dr Sonali Mane.
But the team has found out an interesting solution to these problems. They first identify a villager who is literate or convince the ‘gurus’ to help them serve the patients. The villagers tend to listen to them and slowly turn up for the camps.
Initially, it was challenging to handle emergency patients as Dr Mane did not have a place to take them to. But in his words, he is ever thankful for the donations given by TBI readers – which helped him build a charitable hospital at Rahuri.
The patients who need immediate help are brought to this hospital now and given free treatment.
Ms Swati Kukreja, the owner Suresh Medical Agencies Gwalior, provides all the medicines required for these camps free of cost.
Still, however, an amount of approximately Rs. 20,000 is required for each camp, and the trustees of Dr Mane Medical Foundation help manage that.
“The expenses are not more than Rs. 20,000 per camp which anyone can sponsor. We will run the camp in their name. For some it might be just a small amount but imagine how many lives we can save if the disease is detected on time,” says Dr Mane.
Dr. Mane and his team have completed their 89th cancer detection camp recently. Nearly 32000 people have been screened through these camps, and 920 financially poor and needy patients were treated free of cost.
Dr Mane has also conducted 118 cancer awareness sessions so far. While speaking about what a cancer patient feels, Dr Mane gets emotional and says,
“I wish that no one in this world should succumb to this disease just because they cannot afford treatment. The pain they go through is unimaginable. But each of them wants to live…each of them have a dream…each of them wants to make that dream true in their lifetime!”
On this cancer day, together with Dr. Swapnil Mane, we have shared the dreams of five such patients, and you can help make those dreams comes true.
1. Mrs. Simran Hemant Chadda, 45 from Sakori village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra is suffering from Cervical carcinoma stage IIIB. And her wish has been fulfilled.
Simran needs six cycles of chemotherapy and 35 Radiations as a part of her treatment. The expenditure of her treatment will be approximately Rs 2 lakh. As her husband is unemployed, she is unable to get the benefit of the Rajeev Gandhi Jeewandai Yojana. It is a difficult time for the family and her 13-year-old son, Bhagyesh, is also struggling to get education.
She wished –“I am a die-hard fan of Shahrukh Khan. I really wish if I could just once meet him and shake hands with him! And if at all he meets me I will ask him to help my son get a decent education. That’s all!”
2. 3-year-old Monika from Samnapur village in Maharashtra has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (Blood cancer). Her parents work as farm labourers and can hardly afford a full meal every day.
In such a situation, Monika’s disease had completely shattered them. Dr Mane Medical Foundation is taking care of her chemotherapies right now.
When asked about her biggest wish, she immediately replied, “Mala Ek Mothi car Pahije and Tya Madhye Basun Firayche Aahe.” (I want a big car! I will sit in that and take a long ride).
3. 2.7-year-old Sunita Gorakshanath Walunj from Deolali Pravara in Maharashtra is suffering from Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia. Her father is a sweeper and is struggling to save his daughter’s life.
Sunita’s wish – “I want a big cake on my birthday…a cake larger than me!”
4. 3-year-old Ahmed Isak Shaikh from Jogeshwari Akhada village in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra has been diagnosed with Bone Cancer-Ewing’s Sarcoma (PNET) of Right Humerus Grade III.
His father is a peon and his mother works as house help. The family’s annual income is just Rs. 55000. While the parents are looking for some financial help to save their child, all that Ahmed wishes is to buy a huge toy helicopter one day!
5. Kamal Shridhar Pawar, 46, from Manori village in Maharashtra is suffering from stage IV Breast Cancer with Liver Mets.
She wishes: “You can understand others’ pain when you actually go through it. I can understand the pain of thousands of cancer patients now, and my wildest dream (which I know is impossible without money) is to help at least five poor and needy cancer patients, who are unable to afford treatment in the name of the Kamal relief fund. That will be my last wish too!”