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Home > Discover Mumbai > NGO Watch
  NGO Watch


 The Cancer Patients Aid Association

Hands on Treatment

No one enjoys being in a hospital. Imagine then, how much worse it is when you are poor, illiterate, and unable to understand what the doctor is saying in the few moments he spares for you. And when, the ailment one is talking about is- the big C, uncertainity and ill health along with a feeling of alienation and lack of information leads to the patient feeling traumatised and depressed.

Mr. Y. K. Sapru -Founder Chairman of CPAAThe Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA), headquartered in Mumbai is a registered charitable non-governmental organisation (NGO) working towards the Total Management of Cancer as a disease. CPAA’s story began in 1969 with a chance encounter. Mr. Y. K. Sapru, founder chairman, happened to encounter little Jaya Jhabbar, who was battling leukemia while accompanying her mother for some tests. Inspite of having a good prognosis, lack of funds
prevented her from receiving the recommended chemotherapy treatment. Her plight prompted Mr. Sapru and a few friends to pool their resources in the first efforts at relief, which took the form of free medicines and guidance. Jaya was cured and CPAA was born.

At the initial stages - resources were limited to just Rs.500 and a second hand typewriter. Funds were received from moneyboxes placed at various locations in Mumbai. Suspicion and distrust and angry missives from other cancer societies did make the going difficult. In the early days, Siloo Jasdanwalla, who joined as honorary secretary and Mr. Sapru, both would spend each Saturdays going from shop to shop asking for donations (just Rs.1 per month,i.e. Rs. 12 a year to begin with), but even that was hard to come by. Then their luck turned. Patients who had been helped by CPAA wrote-in to share their experiences. One even said, "Had it not been for Cancer Patients Aid Association, I would have been six feet under the ground."

Actor Nana Patekar With the KidsCPAA was granted an audience with the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi. Mrs. Gandhi extended her unconditional support, along with a note commending the "laudable job" they were doing, a personal cheque for Rs.5000 and agreed to come on board as chief patron and continued to give support over the years.

Then, Silooben came up with the idea of the first "fund raising programme". She invited Begum Akhtar to perform for CPAA. Although the association offered to pay for the artiste’s travel and put her up at Ambassador Hotel, Begum Akhtar refused to accept payment and opted for a cheaper hotel to save money. For quite a while after that, CPAA raised funds by organising film premieres (the first was Raj Kapoor’s smash hit, Bobby).

There's Still HOPE  for meApart from Mrs. Gandhi, CPAA garnered a number of supporters over the years. The Kapoor Family, Sunil Dutt and Yash Chopra have held gala premieres of their films for CPAA's benefit. Salman Khan, Sunil Shetty and Sanjay Dutt are always available when asked to entertain children. Public life personalities like Ali Yavar Jung, V.P.Naik, P.C.Alexander, Sunil Gavaskar, Venkatesh Prasad and Raju Kulkarni have extended their support and performers like Begum Akhtar, Pankaj Udhas, Ghulam Ali, Jagjit Singh and Anup Jalota have performed at CPAA's fund-raising programmes. CPAA considers celebrity author Shobha De a true friend and wellwisher.

From their first office in the Saprus’ house, today CPAA has their administrative office at the Malhotras' house and the Smt. Panadevi Madanlal Dalmia Leukemia Care Centre houses the Rehabilitation Centre, the Pathology Laboratory and the offices of employees working in the Rehabilitation and Patient Care Departments at the King George V Memorial Infirmary Trust. They run a counseling cell at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, where they offer patients support from filling in forms to reading test reports, meeting the surgeon, understanding the prognosis, recommended treatment and expected side effects and communicating this information toTina Ambani the family to make sure the patients and their family, fully understand what is going to happen, so that they do not have to abandon treatment halfway due to miscommunication.

From a well-meaning group of individuals who had laudable intentions but could only afford the distribution of fruits and newspapers, to a multi-faceted organization helping patients cope with every aspect of cancer, CPAA has grown exponentially in scope, size and influence. Today they have a presence in Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Pune. The Patient Care Department at Mumbai provides total guidance and assistance to about 1000 patients every month.The Rehabilitation Center provides gainful employment to patients and their relatives. The Taj Group Of Hotels is a major client who source their linen requirements for all their 44 hotels including fabrication, printing and embroidery of laundry bags, half aprons, full aprons, bedsheets, tablecloths, tray mats, tea cosy covers, milk cosy covers, dinner napkins, and cocktail napkins from the CPAA. Other clients include the Oberoi Group Hotel Shops, Takete Maluma, Mr. SapruCentral Cottage Industries, Shoppers Stop, Srishti and Crosswords.

CPAA continues to be an empathetic, reassuring, non-medical presence that has supported the treatment and overall needs of more than 40,000 cancer patients. A team of 60 employees and 40 doctors make it possible to spread awareness on the dangers inherent in accepted social practices such as chewing of tobacco, early marriage, multiple pregnancies, etc, which are responsible for approximately 70% of cancers in India, initiating steps for the early detection of cancer since treatment at this stage leads to a cure in a majority of cases, providing complete assistance to cancer patients beyond that given by the medical profession, that is, taking a holistic approach and not attacking the malignancy in isolation and ensuring that cancer patients receive the full range of treatment.

By: Supriya Rathod

µ Comet Media Foundation
µ Cancer Patients Aid Association
µ Giving a child a loving home
µ Celebration of the senses
µ Concern India Foundation
µ Make A Wish
µ Adding life to days with love
µ Eldred Tellis
µ Mother Teresa's roses
µ Association of Youth for a Better India
µ ICICI Providing a helping hand
µ Shelter Don Bosco - a lamp of hope
µ Akanksha - Bringing a smile to every face
µ The Spastics Society of India
µ SMILE - A charitable organisation with a purpose.
µ Vipula kadri
µ Bombay Natural History society
µ  NGO Listing