Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Balti Suci" - Adding Life to Their Days - CanSupport and the Walk for Life 2011

U.S. Ambassador to India, Timothy Roemer and Jeannie Mulford, wife of Former U.S. Ambassador to India, David Mulford

For the past three years, our family has donated our time to help in the operation of the Walk for Life; one of CanSupport's major fundraising activities of the year.

Preston installing "No Parking" signs along the walk route before the start

Things keep getting better year after year.......the Walk for Life, now in it's 4th year of existence, is growing in numbers of participants and volunteers alike. While the final numbers have not been tallied for this years registrations, it is well over the 5000+ participants from 2009's event.

Members of the Jammu & Kashmir Rifles Band - 15th Battalion

The small role we play in supporting this organization stems from the fact that our family has been touched by the tragedy, struggle, survival and loss of loved ones that have been cancer patients.

Crowds growing before the start of the Walk for Life

Cancer touches the lives of an entire family, not only the loved one that has been diagnosed........words cannot adequately describe the emotional journey that a family goes through when they are faced with the knowledge that a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer........and then the tougher journey of dealing with the physical aspects of the illness.

Participants gathering for the speech's and the "Walk of Honor"

While we can rejoice that we currently have a survivor in our family, we have also been on the other side as well.........and in both instances, we have witnessed the compassion, friendship, care and love by those who provided hospice services to our family members.

Harmala Gupta at the podium, Founder of CanSupport

CanSupport was founded by Harmala Gupta, a survivor of cancer herself, who started India's first Cancer Patient Support Group in 1991.........after years of visiting cancer patients at Delhi's All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) she learned that there was scope for more help, beyond the counseling and support that she was providing to those still undergoing treatment and hanging onto the hope of becoming a survivor like herself.

Cancer survivors take the "Walk of Honor"

The grim reality was that nearly two-thirds of those that had visited AIIMS and other institutes were not responding positively to treatments and once the hospital had determined that a patient was not curable, they faced a void and were left to cope with their illness 1996, through her dedication to the lives of those not as fortunate as her, Harmala filled the void and CanSupport was born with one palliative care (hospice) team consisting of: a doctor, a nurse and a counsellor.

Corporate and School groups organizing before they begin the walk

Today, CanSupport has grown to 10 such teams working in six field locations throughout the greater Delhi metropolitan area caring for over 500 current patients.

Controlling the flow of traffic!

A visit to the CanSupport website provided me with more information than I ever dreamed of.........including a story of a young boy named Vineet, who at 13 was battling with a curable form of cancer, but due to several reasons, his cancer remained only partially treated. CanSupport got involved late in this young man's battle with cancer...........and while he ultimately succumbed to the disease, the story of his courage and his love for his family touched me in special way.

The walk begins!

Medical treatment for cancer patients in India pales in comparison to the treatment available to those in the United States.

Vintage Cars carried survivors unable to walk allowing them to participate in the Walk for Life

While the people of India have a huge passion for movies, I am not sure how many of India's 1 billion people saw the Hollywood movie entitled "The Bucket List"; the story of two cancer patients that became friends, bonded by the tragedy of being diagnosed with cancer......and living the last days of their lives embarked on a journey all over the world on a private jet checking items off their list of things to do before they die.

Young boy cleaning up after the walk collecting recyclable items

While reading the story of Vineet's last days on earth, as told through his caregivers at CanSupport, I learned that Vineet's "Balti Suci" (Bucket List) was much more humble than the lists made by the character's in the Hollywood blockbuster.................and in the end, Vineet's one wish was not able to be granted.

GE.......they bring "good things to life"

Wherever you may be in this world of ours you can find a place to make a small difference in someones life...........or as it appropriately states on the CanSupport website........"While we cannot add days to their lives, we can life to their days"............

Preston and Pat participating in the Walk for Life!

I urge all of you who read this blog post to volunteer, participate as a runner, walker, skater, or bike rider in an event that will help make a huge difference in the lives of someone that is dealing with cancer.

Sally, Linda and me with the gang!

Each year, at the end of volunteering at the Walk for Life, I know that our family is touched in a special way by supporting CanSupport's mission.

Jeannie and David Mulford, Former U.S. Ambassador to India and some volunteers

Learn more about Vineet, CanSupport and about Harmala Gupta at: CanSupport Website

Preston and Matt after the Walk for Life

I hope you enjoy the pictures from the Walk for Life 2011!

Visit the CanSupport and Walk for Life Websites