A 56-year-old postman in Kerala is delivering an inspirational message by setting up a charitable society for cancer patients. Ordinary people can do extraordinary things – the 56-year-old, Babu is the true recipient of this adage. A postman by profession, Babu also saves the lives of many cancer patients.
He, along with some of his well-wishers started the Santhvanam Charitable society in 2007. The society arranges meals for poor cancer patients and organises free cancer diagnosis camps. Babu came up with the idea after he lost his sister Florence to cancer seven years ago.
“It is shocking to see how poverty forces many patients to skip meals during cancer treatment. Though the government offers a 20 per cent discount in treatment expenses to BPL citizens at the Regional Cancer Centre, many can’t afford the treatment or eat food during treatment. It is heartbreaking,” said Babu.
Santhvanam Charitable Society Secretary MS Mathew said, “We are a set of senior citizens, who decided to start this society after retirement. Babu came to us with the idea, explaining the plight of cancer patients. We try to reach out to them through all possible means.”
Initially, each member contributed towards the society. Then, money poured in from various other sources as more and more people became aware of the good work done by this organisation.
Now, whenever the society manages to collect large sums of money, they organise functions to donate it. In June 2011, a hundred BPL cancer patients received Rs 3,000 each. The society also donates Rs 25,000 every quarter to the Regional Cancer Centre.
Murali, the husband of a cancer patient, said, “My wife needs to undergo chemotherapy once in a month. I am a labourer who gets daily wages. Only due to the help that we get from organisations like Santhvanam, I am able to treat her.”
Cancer patient Lalitha said, “It’s difficult to spare Rs 1,000 every month for treatment. With the amount I received today I can buy medicines for the next three months. I am really grateful to Santhvanam.”
People from different classes of the society, from IAS officers to labourers, joined hands and formed the Santhvanam charitable trust. The person who joined the dots for the noble cause is postman Babu. He now wants to reach out to families who have lost their only earning member to cancer.