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Cancer Funds

Be it a rupee or lakhs of it, if someone spares it for you without spending for himself, is the greatest encouragement you can get for what you do.  The backup that we have received from people across the board has brought us to this level where we stand today. Three active nodes functioning and emancipating the cause of cancer wouldn’t have been possible without the nourishment provided in abundance by generosity of people at large. Given below is an account of modes employed to channelize the benevolence of people’s heart to lives of cancer affected.

This event was conceived with an aim to associate good things in life with cancer, gather people who want to lend a hand in the fight for cancer and also raise funds for the treatment of the cancer affected. The first such concert was given by Smt. Sudha Ragunathan in Coimbatore on 1st Feb 1998. The response was very good, gathering 1000plus audience and over 2 lakh rupees. It then became an annual event and it was even conducted in Mumbai . Over the years 22 such concerts have been held.

musicTop Carnatic musicians,  P.Unnikrishnan, Bombay Jayashri, Lalgudi trio , S.Sowmya ,Abhishek raghuram and many more,  gave concerts virtually free and were suitably honoured by us with Udhavum Oli – Voice for help  or Vasantha Shrest – Person par excellence awards. While Unnikrishnan’s concerts drew the maximum number of audience,  Smt. Nithyashree Mahadevan rendered the maximum number of concerts for us , two each in Mumbai & Chennai & one in Coimbatore. Smt Vishaka Hari gave a harikatha recitation for us in Sept 2007 in Chennai, wherein the audience numbers filled the hall, foyer & beyond.

These events raised the necessary funds but were not restricted to that. Several members from the audience not only became regular donors but also enrolled themselves as volunteers and worked with full zest.  These events also introduced us to prominent citizens in each of the city, who then became our advisors & patrons

music-missionThe beautiful concert rendered by Smt. Nithyashree Mahadevan in Nov 2000 at Coimbatore included two compositions that would melt away people’s hearts & actually beckon people to the cause of cancer. We wanted to reach these songs to the masses and chose to release the recording of this concert as CDs & Cassettes. Vasantha Ninaivu was the name given and was released on 27th march 2001 at Mumbai on the Remembrance day of Mrs. Vasantha. It was well received and that emboldened us to produce 2 more albums, Vasantha Guhane – Songs on Murugan – By P.Unnikrishnan & Endrum Vasantham – Songs depicting the tale of cancer affected from trouble to triumph – by Bombay Jayashri. Subsequently all the 3 albums were combined as a DVD and called Music with Mission

We took the albums for release & sale to different cities all over & India from 2001 to 2004. On such events and in the period following the release we got introduced to people at these cities, who joined our struggle against cancer in one or more ways. Someone merely bought the albums, someone added an extra donation, several subscribed to our monthly magazine, groups invited us for awareness programs and so on. These albums generated funds & gathered people to champion the cause of cancer round the year.

Music With Mission, a mission to make cancer never
Audio DVD Rs 150/-
na thvaham kAmayE rAjyam na svargam nApunarbhavam / kAmayE
dhuhkhathapthAnAm prANinAmArthinAshanam //
/ I do not long for kingdom, nor paradise nor salvation. All that I long is to ease the miseries of my men, says this sloka. The Vasantha memorial trust desires the same and the misery that it aims to ease the world from is cancer, a disease that afflicts 3% of Indian Population. It embarked on a journey to make cancer never in the year 1993 and in the 16 years it has brought hope, health and happiness to hundreds, thousands and lakhs of people.

Cancer is a disease of the community and the community has to put an act together to get rid of this from its fold. To gather the like minded in the crusade against cancer and to associate good things in life with cancer it has employed music as its tool time and again. Since the year 1998 veterans in the field have lent their voices and raised the hopes of cancer affected. To keep this effect sustained and reach deeper and wider into the society this album Music with mission was conceived. Top ranking contemporary Carnatic musicians have rendered some excellent classical pieces and also incorporated a message. While Nithyashree Mahadevan urges people to join in the fight against cancer, Unnikrishnan seeks Murugan’s blessing for the fight and Bombay Jayashri appeals for a season of everlasting spring in the lives of the cancer affected.

By patronizing this album you have brought a smile to someone’s face, hope to an eager heart and breathed life to a grateful soul. There is life after cancer and you too have joined to say so. Thank you.
Music with Mission
This is available as a single audio DVD and is priced at a nominal price of Rs. 150/-
Vasantha Ninaivu
Vasantha Niniaivu by Nithyashree Mahadevan is an audio recording of the excerpts of The Heart for Cancer Carnatic Nite – 3 held in year 2000 at Coimbatore. It contains compositions in simple language woven in appealing ragas which urge the common man to champion the cause of cancer.
Vasantha Guhane
Vasantha Guhane is by P. Unnikrishnan In this album , Murugan , the god who symbolizes beauty & revered as an unparalleled savior , has been invoked through a garland of songs & appealed to save lives.
Endrum Vasantham
Endrum Vasantham – Spring forever-the promise to cancer victim – by Bombay Jayashri Ramnath is an album of popular melodies & melodies unsung before which sketches the life history of a cancer victim, the emotions he goes through & his joy of victory over the disease. Through this album of everlasting melodies the trust aims to make it clear that there is life after cancer.

rithuTo draw people to the auditorium from a wider section of the society we had to move to a more popular kind of music and we began organizing Film music orchestra . It was named Ritu Vasanth and began with a concert by P.Unnikrishnan & his group on Jan 2004. The response was not expected, the audience known to us was the one interested in Carnatic music, to them this program was not appealing and secondly it was songs Tamil films that were to be sung . For next one switched to Hindi film orchestra , Ajit Parab & group gave their recital the next January gathering a full house ! The location was in Vile parle and it exposed us to totally new audience.

In the subsequent years more such programs were held drawing audiences, funds and gathering hands for the struggle against cancer. One such concert was even held in Coimbatore but the response was very poor

rutha

The success of Ritu Vasanth broadened the scope and we began hosting fund raising events with Dance & drama. Drama came in first. In Feb 2003, Crazy Mohan & his troupe gave a performance for us at Coimbatore on the eve of the cancer victors’ day and one more drama was held 5 years later by the Dummies group. In Mumbai Santhosh Rajan & her troupe presented dramas to mark our 15th & 16th anniversaries. The responses were poor at all times

Nrithya vasanth, came into being when a Mridula Rai & Mrs. Chitra Krishnaswamy decided to raise funds for the Vasantha Memorial cancer centre , Chennai through a dance program by their dance group. They raised Rs. 5 lakhs from each of their programs held in Dec 2007 and Nov 2009.

The westerners call it Garage sale and we in India have named it Jumble Sale and in our hands it has grown to become a Jumbo Sale. The idea was mooted by a volunteer but we had no clue as to how to conduct the sale. We consulted a few veterans in the field but their suggestions confused us further. Finally on the Independence of India, the idea to price & label stuff came to us and one by one things fell in line and on 23rd September the first sale was conducted at CSI girls‘s School Coimbatore. We had collected 44,000 odd rupees and this excitement kept us awake all night.

jumble-sale

Thereafter it became an annual event in the 3rd week of September. It grew in size by the year & posed additional challenges every year. Between canvassing for goods and canvassing for the sale, we had to collect goods and sort, price & pack them. The process was labour intensive, it involved handling rags & working in a dusty atmosphere. Finally all the goods had to be sold on a single day in a smooth & efficient manner. The sale was from 9 am to 6 pm and by 7 pm the school had to be handed back in a clean & neat state as it was 24 hours ago. These are by no means easy propositions and every person involved with the sale would vouch this.

To many conducting this event seemed foolish, a similar amount could be got us a donation from a philanthropist. It is not so.  The jumble sale brought in so many benefits that it is worth the effort. It cleared homes of excess, unwanted or old goods and gave the opportunity to have-nots to acquire goods they desired at very cheap price. Second and the most important aspect was it brought in people from all walks in life to work under a single roof.  In the godwon close to 100 people worked on weekends and the sale day pulled in a 700 to 1000. It helped us to acquire abilities to manage a large number of people from different backgrounds and manage a crowd of thousands without any law and order problem. Finally a good number of persons who enrolled as volunteers for the sale stuck to us as our core volunteers and provided assistance to all our activities.

Of course it generated funds. The final sale in year 2010 raised 12 lakh rupees from selling goods loaded in 19 Lorries. Over the years this event had raised over 65 lakh rupees. But we had to stop this activity as it had grown to mammoth proportions and it was expected grow further if conducted in the following years. The challenge seemed too much and we stopped this event. We are happy that this Junk life process got us funds and also added a family.

Mumbai Marathon conducted United way of Mumbai by itself is a great inspiration. Thousands run the marathon & with them an equal number take up the Dream run bring attention to a socially relevant issue to raise funds for a cause. One amongst them is us from the trust. We participated in this event in 2010 for the 1st time. L& T had taken up our cause in the corporate challenge category and donated 10 lakh rupees to us. The same year the employees of ICICI bank also raised Rs. 47,000/- for us .This was big start for us and there was no looking back

In the next year, apart from the L& T corporate challenge, ICICI employees continued support, Stock holding corporation sent in their contribution and we ourselves from the Trust raised 4 lakh rupees!  Our contingent for the Dream run had 35 members and they also had pinned several posters on them , enlisting ways to prevent cancer.

In the coming years it grew further both in terms of volunteer participation and corporate challenge. Volunteers took up a theme each year. One year it was “fast food fast track to cancer” and another year it was on ill effects of tobacco. The volunteers dressed up in striking costumes and attracted the attention of fellow runners, spectators & media. The idea was to spread the message about cancer prevention.

mumbai-marathonjumble-sale

With Godrey & Boyce taking up our cause in the corporate challenge the response took up a brighter hue. Mr. Nariman Bacha & his team of 70 – 75 employees walked for our cause & carried placards with the necessary messages. In addition he organized interaction with us , organized awareness programs & even screening camps to get them motivated. He also visited our centre and saw in person what we do.  This really helped and this year the company & its employees nearly 40 lakh rupees. A fantastic sum !

In the last 7 the years this event has generated more than crore rupees and brought to life many of our projects. We thank the corporates, their employees and volunteers for their enthusiastic support to this event.

Rehab coupons

In the year 2005 we decided to take up rehabilitation of cancer affected in a big way. There was sizeable number of cancer victors who were finding difficult to continue their education or get married or get living support from their family in their autumn years. Coupons worth Rs.25, 50 & 100 were brought out & sold .Around a Lakh rupees was collected and this was used for rehabilitation purposes solely.

Joy of Giving

rehabThe success of this venture got us to use this modality for events conducted in later years. In October 2014, it was used for the Daan Utsav during October,the Joy of giving month and Rs. 1,73,650 was raised in Mumbai . At the Diwali function that year, this was disbursed to cancer patients , for purposes other than treatment , like food &  transport, school fees etc. It was also similarly done  in 2015.

Rose coupons

To felicitate cancer victors and to sponsor treatment of cancer patients, Rose coupons, each valued at Rs.100/- was sold prior to cancer victors day in 2015 & 16.  People could send a rose for every hundred rupees to a cancer victor on the day of the celebration. There was a very good response. Each victor at each of the cities where it was conducted walked away with 60 – 85 roses !. The collection was Rs.4 lakhs in the 2015 and 3.5 lakhs in 2016.

GKR fund

cvvMr.G.K. Ramamurthy from Mumbai is a bigwig from the pharmaceutical industry who sold of his ventures and invested the profits to form a Charity, GKR Foundation and supported education, health & restoration of temples.  In 2001 we got introduced to him at the 1st Heart for Cancer Carnatic Nite held at Mumbai in January 2001.  At a meeting a day before with us he said that he was mighty impressed with our activities and was keen to support us and would do it in a big way.  ‘Big “ , the  enormity that this word conveys  was understood by us on the concert evening when he announced a grant of  Rs. 15 lakhs towards patient care and added that this was just the beginning.

In the last 15 years the assistance from this foundation has crossed 1.25 crore rupees supporting not only patient care but a myriad of activities undertaken by us. 185 patients have sponsored through this fund and many of them stand cured. He donated a Toyota Qualis for us to enable us to travel to villages for awareness programs. When our cancer centres came into being he donated towards their acquisition. He underwrote the cost of Cancer Carnatic nites ,a couple of music albums and also a 100 mammograms. The cancer victors’ days have become grand celebrations thanks to his support from the year 2006.

The best part of his support is his physical presence at our events. This encouragement, whose magnitude cannot be gauged, is immensely huge. He is a more than a donor for us, a patriarchal figure whose guidance & advice we constantly seek. After making such a big difference to us, he says that all he has done was that he wrote a cheque and that was the easiest thing to do!

CVV Iyengar Memorial Charitable Trust

This Trust from Coimbatore which was founded in the late 1920s and presently managed by its managing trustee, Mr. C. B. Suresh associates itself with several social causes. Mr. Suresh approached us after learning about us from a mutual friend and expressed his desire to aid us. This assistance began in 2010 with support to patient’s treatment went to sponsor mammograms & lab equipment. Over the years the quantum of donation from this trust has crossed 35 lakh rupees.

In early 2012, we impressed upon Mr. Suresh that we wanted good quality paramedics for our hospital in Chennai and it only comes with a price. We had approached a number of donors but none would come forward to support this aspect. Mr. Suresh understood our need and from July 2012, he consented to take care of the salaries of staff at Vasantha Memorial cancer centre.  This was big relief for us, a very big requirement for the provision of quality care of patients was taken care of.

Association For India’s Development ( AID)

aidThis United States of America based welfare organization founded by Dr. Ravi Kuchimacnhi & Aravinda in 1991 has several chapters all over USA. It is run by volunteers and they aid numerous projects in India. We received their support for the 1st time in 1999 when they gave a grant to us to conduct camps in 3 villages around Coimbatore. Our relief work for Kutchu quake victims & Orissa flood affected was also aided. Subsequently they supported the Pap Smear Project in Mumbai in 2015 in a big way. From 2016, two chapters of theirs, Chicago & Boston , are going take care of Pudhuvasantham project for the next year. We have received nearly 20 lakh rupees as assistance from this organization

Ashokan Ambal

ashokambalSaradambal Auto & its Managing director, Mr. Ashokan Muthuswamy , have been a pillar of strength to us since the year 2001. In the last 15 years their support has increased in quantity and frequency. Notable amongst their regular donations is the assistance towards the conduct of cancer victors’ day. The aid from them has crossed 15 lakh rupees !

Continuing assistance beyond life.

Mr. N. Jayaraman, one of Founder trustees, left a lakh rupees for us causing  the formation Jayaraman Leukemia fund , which went to sponsor children who were affected by leukemia. Subsequently a few others ,known and unknown, have willed handsome sums for us in their wills. . These include Mrs. P.V.Parvathy,Coimbatore  – Rs.8 lakhs, Ms Komala Srinvasan ,Chennai – Rs.4.6 lakh , Dr.Kamala, Trichy – Rs.3 lakhs, & Mrs. Prema Ranganathan Chennai, – Rs.7 .25 lakhs. The last lady was totally unknown to us. Merely from what she learnt through sources known to her willed such a large amount for us. We were floored !

n-jayaramanIn addition a number of people have donated in memory of their loved ones. Mr. Jayarajan & his wife Sandhya have a fund under us , named Asihwarya Memorial fund in memory of their daughter. Mr.V.R.R.Ramalingam from Madurai has an endowment with uscalled in memory of his wife , Madurai Revathy devi and this fund supports patient with Chronic myeloid leukemia. M. B .Mehta trust from Coonoor makes an annual donation every year.   Many more persons have also made a onetime contribution in  memory of their loved ones. To honour the lakh & above donors, commemorative plaques have been put up at our Cancer centres.

* HDFC Ltd has been providing a solid support to us. The first donation was in the form of Rs. 2 lakh towards medical equipments for Vasantha Memorial Cancer Centre , Chennai in the year 2013. Subsequently they took up the support of patient care and so far given 30 lakh rupees .We are thankful Delnaz Madam & Ziaa Madam for their initiative.

  *  In Chennai , Chennai Petroleum corporation made a 4 lakh rupee donation towards medical equipments for our hospital. LIC of India made a grant of 6 lakhs plus their golden jubilee fund for the centre at Chennai .

    * At Mumbai STCI Finance limited began their assistance in 2014 with Rs. 1,10,000/-  The grants have increased in the subsequent years and so far their donation nets 12 lakh rupees.

    * Another body which has been supporting activities in Mumbai since long is the Stock Holding Corporation. They not only provided venues to create awareness but constantly gave funds towards patient care.

     * Outside these many corporate, banks & the like have given lakh and above rupees for a number of activities conducted by us.

when
From the inception, we from the trust , have sought people’s involvement more than the money they can spare for us. Little drops indeed make an ocean. Be it the cancer carnatic nites , donor passes were as low as Rs.25 , or proceeds from sale of t-shirts  and the like. Even behind the mega jumble sale, the idea was to get the community at large to get engaged.

The add colour to cancer got school children from 90 schools in Coimbatore to make greetings which carried a message & also brought in ten rupees with it. In the same year 2006, we launched our kerchiefs for Cancer campaign.  Women embroidered kerchiefs from their homes for free or at a nominal cost of Rs. 2/- and sent it to us.  These were then sold at Rs.25/- for a pack of 3. There was very good response. ROSHNI , a charitable organization in Coimbatore , got all its lady members  to embroider 1000 kerchiefs & donated to us. The same organization had previously donated 3 lakh rupees towards patient care.

In the coming years as a measure of Rehabilitation we roped in Cancer Victors. They now started to embroider kerchiefs, make bags & pouches , knit shawls & so on. Mrs. Meenakshi Selvaraj , our volunteer from Coimbatore was involved in this activity in a big way.  She exploited her skills in handicrafts to embroider, design pouches & bags , make hair bands , etc etc. These would be then emulated by all others in the trust. At stalls put up at various fairs, these goods would be picked in minutes once they were displayed.

Many more modalities, both novel & established, were employed to garner funds for our cause. Film shows were organized 3 times and they gathered good sums quite easily. Mrs. Sumithra Shetty from Coimbatore , baked cakes and sold to raise nearly a lakh rupees. In the initial years of our formation, T. Shirts & Sarees were sold. And since 12 years our charity boxes placed at several places including our cancer centres, constantly collect cash.

 

We from the trust are thankful to each & every donor, known , unknown & nameless ; for their contributions. Be it a coin or a crore most of them gave from their heart and quite a lot of them have given it spontaneously. Our dreams have taken a physical form only because of this benevolence. In this report it has been possible to mention a few due to space restrictions but the acknowledgements from us is to the entire spectrum and it is from our heart & soul.. Thanks