Who would have thought that starting an NGO for children with cancer will make me a story teller? Every child and his/her family is a story, has a story. But like other children’s stories, not all stories have happy endings here. Well, the world is not perfect as in fairy tales.
This is a journey few of us embarked on May,2013 and Aroh-Giving Hope, an NGO for children with cancer was born. It has changed all of us in one way or other. Lot of things move us in life, but nothing like children. A child brings a smile to anyone’s face. And we associate all the good things in life with childhood. That’s why we think about childhood with nostalgia, that’s why we want every child to have a happy childhood. We are moved to tears when we see child labor, child abuse, hungry children, child soldiers and sick children. We want everything to be perfect for them. We don’t want them to suffer; we don’t want them to even see suffering.
Well, that’s the ideal world. In our world, children fall sick, suffer and sometimes die. In the world we consciously created for us, Aroh, there is chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, pain, suffering, poverty, and often death. Then why did we consciously choose it? Well, someone has to, right? We decided that we will do everything in our power to make the lives of these kids easier and that we will do it ethically and with integrity, every step of the way. Our motto is to help a child with cancer live, if it’s medically possible.
In the last two years, a lot of children passed through our lives. We lost a lot, a lot remains. We have 203 children under our care now. I don’t have to tell you that the incidence of cancer is on the rise. I don’t want to give you the statistics. I will not reduce these beautiful children to mere statistics. Each child has a family behind him/her, parents who are shattered by the news, siblings who don’t understand what is happening. We see them going from middle class to lower middle class, from lower middle class into abject poverty in the course of the treatment.