Kids learn to fight cancer bravely

On a sunny, winter morning, a group of some two dozen children, between the ages of three and 12, clap and recite poems along with an instructor in a courtyard outside AIIMS out-patient department.

It’s that brief, transient tranquility in a day fraught with pain and uncertainty.

For most young cancer patients, a bulk of whom are from other states, the congregation on the chattai, or simple reed mats, and related activities are the only pleasant memories they carry home after a painful day at the hospital. “I enjoy the fun activity here,” says Mohammed Rehan, 3, a resident of Alamganj in Patna, who has blood cancer.

The young patient acknowledges the gains from the chattai clinic. Behind it lies the complex exercise of relaxation and group therapies, along with motivational and self-esteem modules prepared by volunteers and the education team of NGO Cankids Kidscan.

Saloni, 6, suffering from throat cancer, is also a regular at the chattai meetings during visits to the hospital from her house in Shalimar Bagh.

The two bravehearts fighting cancer are not alone. There are many others like them who attend some seven weekly chattai sessions outside several cancer OPDs at AIIMS. Poonam Bagai, chairperson of Cankids, says, “Our chattai sessions are in the open intentionally, as we want to create awareness and invite public inquiries.”

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