Sargakshetra initiated its work for cancer patients in the year 2013. Cancer Awareness Programs, CAP@Campus, was a massive awareness campaign towards the prevention of cancer, across Kerala. The three-year awareness campaign to fight against cancer, aptly named as CAP@Campus, launched in the year 2016, was held in more than 920 schools and colleges in Kerala, organized jointly by Deepika Daily newspaper, Sargakshetra Charitable Trust, Medimix – AVA Group, World Malayalee Council, Melam Foundation, Dr. V. P. Gangadharan and Cochin Cancer Society.
This project launched in July 2016, was designed with the goals of supporting the young generation in cancer prevention and early detection efforts, heightening awareness of and understanding about the leading cancer types among Keralites, and enhancing awareness and education about the importance of proper nutrition, exercise, and healthy lifestyles.
The prime objective of this project is to support the poorer sections of society impacted by cancer, to educate the public about cancer and conduct camps for early detection among women. The objectives of the project included sensitizing the young generation at schools and colleges to bring reduction in cancer mortality; cancers associated morbidity and support cancer patients by giving financial assistance and free hair & wig donations.
The trust also initiated a mass program called Sneha SandeshaYathra, a campaign that spread awareness among the public on the need of Hair Donation. The first campaign was conducted in Changanacherry town as it is the hometown for the trust, the programme had a massive participation and it drew statewide attention as it was a novel idea- HAIR DONATION CAMPAIGN. The message shared was- “Mudi Nalkam, Swanthanavum”. From 2013 onwards the trust had conducted various such campaigns, seminars and hair collection across Kerala. At the same time more than 2 lakh families have benefitted from this effort both directly or indirectly. This Hair and wig donation program is an ongoing program.
CAP @ Campus was organized in two different phases. The first phase was from 2016 to 2017. Improving public awareness of cancer and encouraging healthy behavior change were the important aspects focused at this phase for cancer control.
ALL KERALA CANCER SANDESHA YATRA The campaign was inaugurated by Honorable Chief Minister of the State, Sri. Pinarayi Vijayan and logo released by Padmasree Mammootty in July, 2016. After the successful completion of this CAP@ Campus Campaign in more than 700 campuses in Kerala, an all Kerala Cancer Sandesha Yatra has been flagged off at Kasaragod, extended over a 583 km stretch, and was concluded at Thiruvananthapuram on 24 December 2016. Its aim was to spread awareness about Cancer and also to motivate people to have a healthy lifestyle. A large number of people including students and youth from various campuses participated in Yatra. Meanwhile, many others joined the campaign as well as the rally in order to show solidarity for the cause.
The second phase of the CAP@ Campus program was from 2016 to 2017. The global burden of cancer continues to increase. Each of us will experience grief and pain as a result of cancer, as a patient, a family member or a friend. At the second phase the trust aimed at providing holistic support to the beneficiaries through various activities mentioned below.
Increasing public awareness of cancer signs and symptoms can lead to earlier presentation, referral and diagnosis of cancer. This campaign aimed to increase public awareness of the signs and symptoms of cancer and its preventive methods. Total of around 920 schools from all over Kerala was covered in this program sensitizing around 200000 students via workshops/seminars/Awareness classes/discussions/exhibitions.
As part of this campaign Sargakshetra organized hair collection and free wig donation camps in various institutions. A wide range of public showed their interest towards this charity activity. Around1500 wig donation programs were conducted. In which around 7000 no of girls gave their hairs for the wig donation purpose.
The CAP@ Campus project supported jointly with SH Jyothis charitable society and KCBC Health Commission organized a state level album preparation competition for students.
Breast cancer awareness was an effort to raise awareness and to reduce the stigma of breast cancer through education on the symptoms and the treatment. Sargakshetra hopes that greater knowledge will lead to earlier detection of breast cancer, which is associated with higher long-term survival rates, and that money raised for breast cancer will produce a reliable and permanent cure. As a joint effort with the Medical Mission Sisters, Sargakshetra successfully covered 16 campuses. Multi color booklets were also distributed during the sessions.
Everyday hundreds of poor patients go to the hospitals from across the country for treatment for Cancer. Often, they come with very little money as most come from underprivileged backgrounds. The high cost of initial diagnosis deters them from returning for treatment. A study showed that the dropout rate is 20%. To overcome this, CAP@ Campus project came up with the Cancer Karunyanidhi Treatment Fund. This fund is provided to the poor patients who are unable to afford the initial costs of diagnosis and/or need help in covering certain part of their treatment costs. Any patient from a government hospital can benefit from this fund. The objective is to enable them to do the various tests to determine the diagnosis. If this is not done, they may go back home only to return to the hospital with the cancer in an advanced state.
As a part of our efforts to educate the public about cancer and its aftereffects, CAP@ Campus project team with the support of Government Medical College, Kottayam conducted free health camps, providing succor to over 1000 people. Volunteers from the hospital – doctors, nurses and paramedics- extended their full support towards this cause.
We strongly believe “Cancer is curable if detected early”. The CAP @ Campus project team had organized Mobile Cancer Detection camps at various Hospitals. These camps encourage people to avail for cancer detection screening at nil cost. The basic idea is to diagnose the disease as early as possible since cancer can be cured if treated at an early stage. In this Phase, we have conducted 7 camps benefiting more than 600 clients. These camps were conducted for various schools and colleges.
World Cancer Day is an international day marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. The primary goal of World Cancer Day is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer by 2020. World Cancer Day targets misinformation, raises awareness, and reduces stigma. Multiple initiatives were run on World Cancer Day to show support for those affected by cancer. As part of this campaign Sargakshetra had also organized Cancer Day Celebration at various campuses.