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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sachin’s 50th ton raises hopes for cancer kids

Malathy Iyer TNN 

Mumbai: Housemaid Suman Wadtele’s world came crashing down when her 10-year-old son, Durgesh, was diagnosed with blood cancer six months ago in Pune’s KEM Hospital. The medical bill was one of the many worries that the widowed mother was grappling with when a cheque for Rs 15,000 towards Durgesh’s chemotherapy arrived from an unexpected quarter: a fund started by none other than willow wizard Sachin Tendulkar aka Batman Forever. 
    “When I applied to various charity organizations for financial support, I didn’t know that one of them had a Sachin Tendulkar connection. My happiness at the thought that my son would get treatment after all was doubled due to the cricket connection,’’ says Wadtele. 
    Durgesh is one of the 20 cancer-affected children whose treatment is in part being financed by a fund set up from the sale of Tendulkar memorabilia in May.
   When the master blaster scored his record 50th century, it was an extra-special occasion for these 20 families spread across Maharashtra and its neighbouring states. “Like most Indians, I too was ecstatic to hear about Sachin’s 50th century. It was my misfortune that I couldn’t catch it on TV,’’ said Mr M Ghazni, father of a Hyderabad-based patient. 
    With the record, the fund’s goals too have moved. “To commemorate Sachin’s 50th century, we want to help 50 children undergo complete treatment for cancer. We want to spend at least Rs 1 lakh for each child before June 2011,’’ said Dr P Jagannath, cancer surgeon whose NGO, indiacancer.org, organized a fundraiser to combat cancer. 
    Following a tweet by the cricketer in the last week of May, his fans within a couple of days helped generate Rs 1.3 crore. Many bought souvenirs signed by the master blaster while a handful chose a sit-down dinner to help children across the country. The sum is being managed to sponsor children as 
and when required. Every time the child undergoes a therapy session or a surgical procedure, a cheque from the Tendulkar fund is sent to the hospital concerned. “Usually, families travel all the way to Mumbai to get cancer treatment. But we want to ensure that they get treatment close to their home,’’ said Jagannath, adding that the fund was specifically looking for children from across the country. 
    Anushka Patil, a two-year-old from Nashik district, had to undergo a 10-hour liver surgery to get rid of her cancer. At Tendulkar’s fund-raising dinner in May, her mother recalled how the operation would not have been possible without donations made by the cricketer. In fact, Tendulkar later said that he had been deeply moved to hear that, post surgery, Anushka’s mother had not eaten for 48 hours as she carried her child in her arms. “Thanks to the availability of funds from Tendulkar’s fund, Anushka could be operated in Nashik close to her home,’’ said Jagannath. Both Anushka and Durgesh are today better than they were in May, say their doctors.
Courtesy: Times of India

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