A strong drive to espouse the cause of cancer led to the founding of the trust and it began with the bare minimum capital that is required to register a trust in the year 1993, that was Rs.2,500/- .By the first year the figure was up 10 times . The first big donation came in late 1994 when Mr. Chandrasekharan gave us a cheque of Rs.30,000/- as a gesture of thanks for treating his father , who had blood disease which was not cancer. Till about 1996 the donations came like this as gestures of thanks or from donations by the family members of the Trust or friends.
The opening of the chapter in Coimbatore in September 1996 drew the attention of a larger number of people and one fine morning a total stranger , Dr. Chandra Kumaraswamy from Tirupur ,came to my clinic and placed 2 bundles of 100 rupee notes on the table , I didn’t know how to react and sat stunned. This was first time that somebody I never knew came and gave a big donation without making a request! This gave us a good head start in Coimbatore .
With wider attention , the number of patients requesting for support also increased and we accepted patients for sponsorship only if we had adequate funds for the complete treatment. Ms. P , was case we found impossible to refuse and we had to raise funds with literally a gun on our forehead. We pushed ourselves and begged a thousand hands to garner the required amount. At the same time we realized that we have to have some sort of buffer capital to meet such demands and that led us to host our first fund raiser, The heart for cancer carnatic nite by Sudha Ragunathan in Feb 1998. About 2 lakhs was raised from this concert and another lakh got added in Dec 1999 when Mr. Jayaraman , founder trustee , left it for the trust in his will.
As It is called today, “Crowd funding “ , was the main source for us to raise funds for the trust. Donor passes were sold for the Cancer Carnatic Nites , T. Shirts were procured from Tirupur and sold , Sarees from Chinalampatti were sold and the like .Our existence was literally was from hand to mouth . The year 2001 brought an end to this state of ours, when Mr.G.K.Ramamurthy , Chairman , GKR Foundation , came into our lives. His agreement to sponsor our patient care came as big relief to us and from now on all we had to do was send an appeal to him and the contribution came! Soon more individuals, establishments and organizations made large donations and encouraged us to take up projects boldly.
Despite the big donors we continued the crowd funding, we believe involvement is equally important as quantum. The jumble sale which was begun in the year 2000 grew in size by the year and involved people by the thousands, grossed money in lakhs. Our Cancer carnatic Nites continued with donor passes. We also started selling products made by volunteers and cancer victors. Ladies embroidered kerchiefs and a set of 3 was sold at Rs. 25 /-.On particular organization made 1000 sets for us. Bags ,pouches were stitched by cancer victors and they brought in cash and acclaim. And finally coins were eagerly dropped at our charity boxes which were kept at shops & restaurants.
What makes really happy is that when a need arises,donors surface .The biggest example is our hospital at Chennai. We took up a 1.20 crore project with quarter of the amount in our pockets. In 30 months the entire capital was raised with the help of 898 donors. Friends & acquaintances, some forgotten for years, suddenly came to make spontaneous donation even without the knowledge that such a project was on. That is when we realized if something has to happen, things fall in place !
We are thankful for being considered worthy to receive the support of all you people and cherish that this energy flows and emboldens us further in the fight against cancer.
Heart for Cancer Carnatic Nite
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. Subsequently it became an annual feature & from 2001 it was also held in Mumbai. Over the years 24 such concerts have been held.
Top Carnatic musicians, P. Unnikrishnan, Bombay Jayashri, Lalgudi trio , S.Sowmya ,Abhishek raghuram and many more, gave concerts virtually free . They were duly honouredby us for this. While Unnikrishnan’s concerts drew the maximum number of audience, Smt. Nithyashree Mahadevan rendered the maximum number of concerts for us – 2 each in mUmbai & Chennai & one in Coimbatore.
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 with Mission
The 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.
To 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 next one was Hindi film orchestra , Ajit Parab & group gave their recital the next January gathering a full house ! In the subsequent years more such programs were held drawing audiences, funds and gathering hands for the struggle against cancer.
Dance & Drama
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. 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.
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. We participated in this event in 2010 for the 1st L& T had taken up our cause in the corporate challenge category and donated 10 lakh rupees to us. This was big start for us and there was no looking back .L & T continued the support for 3 years, ICICI employees and Stock holding Corporation also pitched in their support .Our volunteers also jumped in as fund raisers and as participants.
In the year 2013 , 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 .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 over the years the company has raised over a Crore & 60 lakh rupees over 5 years ! This year they raised a sum of Rs.37 lakhs plus and an additional donation of Rs.5 lakhs from Pirojsha Godrej Foundation was also sent. This is the biggest support we from the trust have got form a single source. Cheers!
This year, 35 volunteers of the trust also ran the marathon carrying placards and collected a sum of Rs.1.5 lakhs
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 Day of India, the idea to price & label stuff came to us and one by one things fell in line and on 23rd September 2000 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.
Thereafter it became an annual event in the 3rd week of September. It grew in size by the year & posed new challenges every year. The growing quantity of goods overwhelmed us in every aspect. It demanded intensive labour, large number of volunteers , managerial abilities & crowd management techniques. We have coped to these quite successfully and it grew to mammoth proportions.So much we had to abandon the conduct of this sale in 2010.
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 . It also got a good number of persons who enrolled as volunteers for the sale stick to us as our core volunteers and provide assistance to all our activities. The junk to life process got us funds & also added a family.
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 45 lakh rupees .We are thankful Delnaz Madam & Ziaa Madam for their initiative.
STCI Finance Limited
Their continued support from 2014 has again helped us take more patients for aid as well as conduct screening camps at centre and outside. Their benevolence for the past so many years has been 34 lakhs plus. The trust thanks Ms. Suparna Sharma for her initiative .
Gateway Distriparks Limited (GDL)
A leading integrated logistics facilitator in India is promoted by Mr. Prem Kishan Dass Gupta and his family has a pan-India presence. Under the Corporate Social Responsibility headed by Mrs. Mamta Gupta made a donation of Rs. 25 lakhs for Cancer Victor Rehabilitation program.
Mr.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.
In the last 17 years the assistance from this foundation has crossed 1.45 crore rupees supporting not only patient care but a variety of activities undertaken by us. 199 patients have been 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.He is a more than a donor for us, a patriarchal figure whose guidance & advice we constantly seek.
Association For India’s Development ( AID)
This 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 Kutch 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 , took care of Pudhuvasantham project for 2 years.. We have received nearly 34 lakh rupees as assistance from this organization.
Saradambal Auto & its Managing director, Mr. Ashokan Muthuswamy , have been a pillar of strength to us since the year 2001. In the last 17 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 20 lakh rupees!
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 47 lakh rupees.
Yes ! donation came from them but most importantly it came for apurpose which donors generally do not come forward to .Theyconsented to sponsor the salaries of our staff at the Chennai hospital and continues to do so till date. Thanks to this gesture we are able to employ good quality paramedics.
This year one more person Mr.T.V.Srinivasan from Bangalore has joined Mr.Suresh in sponsoring staff salaries and helped us give uncompromised care to our patients.
In Chennai , Chennai Petroleum corporation & Universal Medicare Pvt. Ltd. & STUP Consultants Pvt. Ltd. sponsored lab equipments for the Chennai centre. LIC of India made a grant of 6 lakhs plus their golden jubilee fund for the centre at Chennai . Another body which has been supporting activities in Mumbai since long is the Stock Holding Corporation. Outside these many corporate, banks & the like have given lakh and above rupees for a number of activities conducted by us.
A large number of donations are made to the trust not necessarily in cash. Apart from contributions to jumble sale which as goods & clothes , hospital & patient home needs were also donated by a good number of people. For the Mother & child project there are regular donors who send rations to us. Years ago Mrs. Sumithra Shetty form Coimbatore baked cakes & raised a lakh rupees. Stalls are put by us at various fairs and our goods are sold to raise funds. Finally sponsorship banners are put up at our events to raise funds.
The worthiness of the work an organization is proven when people come to support again & again. We from the trust are lucky that we have gathered a good number of them. The Muthiah family from Coimbatore makes the first cheque of the new financial year on our name, so does another auditor from Coimbatore. Mrs. Usha , an insurance employees makes sure that her contribution reaches us every month. Usha Lala, from Mumbai supports us in a big way each & every month and so on. On Birthdays & anniversaries , a donation comes from a many a person year after year.
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 are floored !
In addition a number of people have donated in memory of their loved ones. Mr. Jayarajan & his wife Sandhya have a fund under us , named Aishwarya Memorial fund in memory of their daughter. Mr.V.R.R.Ramalingam from Madurai has an endowment with us 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.
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.
The 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.
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 from the year 2016. People could send a rose for every hundred rupees to a cancer victor on the day of the celebration. There has been a very good response. The collection is 4 lakh upwards every year .