Armed with an MBA from the Indian Faculty of Enterprise, Purnota Dutta Bahl was enthusiastic about advertising and marketing from the get-go.
In 2010, she took a break from her profession to get by way of a troublesome being pregnant and spend time along with her new child daughter.
“After just a few months, I wished to do extra. My husband and I used to help kids’s therapy at Tata Memorial Hospital,” Purnota tells SocialStory.
This life-altering time led her to determine Cuddles Basis — a not-for-profit targeted on offering meals and vitamin to underprivileged kids battling most cancers in authorities most cancers hospitals.
“I had by no means earlier than seen so many kids with most cancers in a single place,” Purnota shares, “the visible may be very stark.”
On the hospital, she noticed a child within the kids’s ward who was across the identical age as her little one, and each of them had a black daga (thread) tied on the identical toes. “That was the dramatic second the place I assumed I might have been there with my daughter; it’s simply likelihood,” she says.
Moved by what she noticed, Purnota spoke to the social employee about how she might lengthen help to those kids. Whereas that they had sufficient monetary sources for therapy, they wanted cash for vitamin.
The duo did their greatest to satisfy their necessities. Nonetheless, it quickly surpassed what they might afford, and so they began tapping into their networks to contribute.
“I began actually having fun with what I used to be doing. I used to be constructing one thing from scratch that felt actually significant,” feedback Purnota.
At first, Cuddles Basis joined palms with Dr Brijesh Arora, who was main the initiative for vitamin for kids with most cancers in India. “Then got here Limitless India, who received me on board as an investee as a social entrepreneur,” she provides.
Quickly, Cuddles started its pilot undertaking on the Tata Memorial, and because it delivered on its promise, it replicated the identical throughout India.
Coping with childhood most cancers
In a rustic the place 50,000 kids are identified with most cancers yearly, a number of challenges stand in the best way of being cured. Purnota factors out that being malnourished throughout therapy places them at a higher danger of an infection, negative effects, and therapy delays.
At current, Cuddles Basis’s FoodHeals programme bridges the vitamin hole in kids with most cancers in 35 authorities and charity hospitals in 20 cities throughout India.
Over the previous 12 months, it supplied vitamin counselling to over 6,000 sufferers.
The FoodHeals programme is customised to every little one’s wants. At its associate hospitals, kids looking for most cancers therapy are screened to evaluate their dietary standing.
After analysis, these hospitals create a “vitamin prescription”, which incorporates the correct vitamin remedy and a customized weight loss program plan for the kid.
Cuddles Basis helps the kid and the household by offering dietary dietary supplements, scorching meals, and month-to-month ration bundles. It additionally displays the kid’s dietary standing and reassesses, if required.
Purnota says households come from all elements of India to cities for most cancers therapy, leading to earnings disruption for the households already dealing with monetary constraints.
For Cuddles, offering help to the affected person’s household can also be an vital element of the help construction.
The organisation’s work is supported by model partnerships with corporations like Mondelez and Nestle and company supporters like Bajaj Finance and ICICI Basis, who undertake a number of hospitals within the programme.
Swara is amongst many kids supported by the muse. The five-year-old from Baramati was identified with most cancers, and her household moved to Pune for her therapy.
Her father had spent all of his financial savings on her medical checks and journey. She weighed lower than what she was speculated to at her age and consumed solely 23 % of her vitality necessities. She additionally skilled negative effects of chemotherapy, together with lack of urge for food.
After enrolling within the FoodHeals programme, Swara’s household acquired assist within the type of month-to-month ration. They had been additionally counselled about bettering her weight loss program.
Because the COVID-19 led lockdown had simply began and getting sources was troublesome, Swara’s mother and father had been relieved they didn’t must stress about feeding the household.
After a 12 months of normal counselling and vitamin help, Swara has entered the upkeep section of therapy and is again dwelling in Baramati.
Increasing the influence
Know-how is an integral a part of the organisation’s interventions.
Cuddle Basis’s FoodHeals app helps nutritionists to hold out dietary assessments. This one-of-a-kind app is among the many first on this planet, says Purnota, “which is inbuilt a creating nation for our inhabitants.”
By the app, they hope to coach docs and nurses to manage vitamin in locations the place offering a nutritionist could also be troublesome. Presently, it is being utilized by nutritionists in any respect associate hospitals.
She factors out that one of many challenges the organisation is addressing is the shortage of pediatric nutritionists. “We’ve launched our personal faculty of vitamin known as the Cuddles Institue for Medical Vitamin (CICN),” she explains.
By this, it goals to coach nutritionists, docs, and nurses in pediatric oncology vitamin. The institute has educated over 100+ nutritionists and collaborated with practically 250 docs by way of its group webinars and classes carried out in faculties.
As an organisation, Cuddles Basis hopes to finally attain one hundred pc of youngsters present process most cancers therapy in hospitals throughout India.
“We’ve some very robust companions onboard like HT Parekh Basis, who want to change the best way we do dietary interventions or deal with pediatric most cancers in India,” Purnota underlines.
She hopes, with the help of extra companions, Cuddle Basis will be capable to attain its formidable goals.
(Identify modified to guard privateness.)
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