Mumbai: Kids beating cancer get camping treat

Updated: Nov 11, 2019, 10:56 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Nine-year-old Prathamesh Kabade, who survived deadly disease, is among the kids who have set out on four-day tour

Prathamesh and his mother Tara
Prathamesh and his mother Tara

At a very young age, Prathamesh Kabade, 9, has been through an extremely difficult and challenging phase of life as a cancer patient over the past year. Surviving the deadly disease – lymphoblastic leukemia – after multiple visits to the Tata Memorial Hospital and an intensive treatment procedure, he now looks forward to a four-day outdoor camp organised by the hospital trust to Garudmachi for children like him. The Improving Paediatric Cancer Care and Treatment Foundation (ImPaCCT) of the hospital has taken up the initiative, which includes children who are fighting the disease as well. The trip will help the kids spend time with each other without their parents. Fifty-nine children from various parts of the country, accompanied by three doctors from the Pedriatric Oncology Department, social workers and other staff members, set out for Garudmachi (200 km from Mumbai) on November 10.

Therapeutic trip

Dr Shripad Banavali, head of the Pedriatric Oncology Department said that just curing the children was not enough and while they have been participating in various competitions like the Russian Olympics, a camping trip would help boost their confidence. "These children haven't been able to go anywhere because of the intensive treatment they undergo. By participating in the activities that have been planned for them, they will be able to bond and learn to cope with challenges. They will also learn life skills which will help boost their confidence," added Dr Banavali. He further said that the Foundation spent Rs 22 lakh to organise the trip and they also wished to do it again.

Kabade's mother Tara Kabade, who was initially reluctant to send her son, agreed on it later. "My son has never gone anywhere without me. I agreed because the doctors said this would be good for him. At home, I help him take his medicines and take care of everything else. Children are forgetful, so I hope he remembers to take his medicines," she said. Prathamesh is undergoing maintenance treatment for which he has to take oral chemotherapy medication. Though they hail from Jalna district, the mother-son duo has been staying with a relative in Dombivli for the treatment.

From all over

Speaking to mid-day, Shalini Jatia, secretary of ImPaCCT Foundation said while majority of the children who have gone on the trip were from Maharashtra, some were from Tripura, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh as well. The trust would also provide accommodation to the parents of these kids in Mumbai.

"We have provided the children with sports kits and organised activities involving athletics, rock-climbing, mix of breathing, meditation and yoga, music as well as dance. Our aim is to help them reintegrate into the society," she said.

Dr Chetan Dhamne, one of the three pediatric oncologists who have accompanied the children on the trip, said, "These children have missed a year of school. Due to the treatment, their skin colour has changed and they have experienced hair loss. These changes are difficult to adjust with. Spending time with the kids will help them see themselves as survivors and doing things on their own will teach them to be independent."

No. of children who have gone on the trip

Rs 22L
Amount the Foundation is spending for the trip

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