CanSupport, pioneers in the field of palliative care today runs the largest home-care program for people with cancer in North India. It organized its 11th annual walk called Walk for Life: Stride against cancer, an initiative to show support to cancer patients, spread awareness among the masses, honor those lost to cancer and raise funds for CanSupport’s palliative home care services for people with cancer in Delhi/NCR. Bollywood star and cancer survivor Manisha Koirala was the Chief Guest at the event and flagged off the Walk along with Mrs Sangeeta Jaitley, wife of the honorable Finance Minister of the Govt. of India on a colorful Sunday morning.
The Walk saw schoolchildren, prominent citizens and people from all sections of society gather to mark World Cancer Day and express solidarity with those affected by cancer. Smt Gursharan Kaur wife of ex-Prime Minister of India Shri Manmohan Singh also attended the walk. She is the chief patron of the Walk for Life and has been leading from the front since its inception. Other dignitaries who attended the Walk included Ms Mary Carlson – Deputy Chief of Mission US Embassy, Ms Jeannie Mulford wife of Ex US Ambassador David Mulford, Ms Renu Sharma, President BWWA, Ms Mohini Daljeet Singh – Head Max India Foundation, Ms Vasvi Bharat Ram – President FLO, Mr. Pratyush Kumar- President Boeing International along with Harmala Gupta, CanSupport Founder-President.
Personalities from public life, academics and corporates were present in large numbers at the Walk. H.E. Mr. Mentor Villagomez Merino – Ambassador of Ecuadoria, H.E. Mr. Augusto Montiel – Ambassador of Venezuela and H.E. Mr. Andres Barbe- Ambassador of Chile also participated.
This year, CanSupport’s Walk for Life witnessed more than 10,000 participants including, the corporate houses, supporters, members of the diplomatic corps and expat community in Delhi. Cancer survivors and patients participated in a Lap of honor to show courage and give out a message of hope.
“As a socially responsible business leader, Boeing is committed to improving the quality of life in the communities in which it operates,” said Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India. “It has been a privilege for us to support the exemplary, life-transforming work that CanSupport does. It is indeed encouraging to see hundreds of participants that the ‘Walk for Life’ gains year on year,” remarked Kumar.
CanSupport’s annual walk aims to create awareness about cancer, to raise funds for the people affected by cancer and to honor the struggle against cancer. People walked and ran in memory of loved ones and wrote moving messages on the Wall of Honor.
Activities included BSF Band, Zumba, Djembe drummers, Harley Davidson biker’s group, cyclists, skaters, dance performance and fun corner that offers tattoos, face painting and nail art to celebrate life and reiterate that there is life beyond and after cancer.
Certificates of Merit and prizes were awarded to different groups to laud them for their active efforts in furthering the cause of cancer. Trophies were given for Largest School Group, Largest Corporate Group and Largest Volunteer Group.
In India, cancer has become one of the four leading causes of death, according to estimates from the Cancer Registry Program of ICMR, Delhi has the highest prevalence rate in India – there are currently 200,000 people in the capital with cancer with about 21,000 being added annually. Of these, 10,000 die every year. 75%-80% patients are diagnosed when they are in the 3rd or 4th stage of cancer – hence the role of palliative care becomes paramount.
Harmala Gupta, Founder of CanSupport thanked all participants and volunteers who had gathered to express solidarity with the cause of cancer. “Unlike the west, where survivorship figures for cancer are on the rise, in India, unfortunately, the majority of those diagnosed become aware of their condition when cancer has already spread and cure becomes difficult,” she said. Gupta, a cancer survivor herself, believes that palliative care is a neglected field in India. “CanSupport helps ease the suffering and turmoil of patients and families coping with advanced illness that threatens their dignity and quality of life,” she added. CanSupport is a pioneer in the field of palliative care and runs the largest home-care programme for people with cancer in India.