Fun day out for children with cancer

June 24th, 2008 - 8:32 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Sporting bright yellow ribbons, a group of 50 cancer patients aged 2-16 squealed in delight and excitedly pointed out the sights as they travelled on the Delhi Metro for a fun day out Tuesday. NGO CanKids…KidsCan organised the event for the cancer patients and their parents and siblings as part of its ongoing education initiative, with the focus Tuesday being on transportation.

The children are all from underprivileged families with monthly incomes of just a few thousand rupees, a representative of the NGO said.

Boarding the Metro at Pragati Maidan, the group travelled the 15 km stretch to Kirti Nagar in west Delhi before returning on the same route.

The route was chosen because it included both underground and over-ground sections, Mohinder Yadav of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation explained.

“Look, look, we are going under the ‘mitti’ (ground),” one child exclaimed in delight as the Metro went underground soon after moving out of the Pragati Maidan station.

On returning to Pragati Maidan, the group that totally included 140 people boarded two buses to travel to Green Park in south Delhi where everyone feasted on a sumptuous lunch hosted by the Clay Oven eatery.

During the lunch, some of the children performed a brief jig to imitate Bollywood songs being projected on a giant screen - and it was then time for gifts in the shape of toy cars and a transport puzzle to be distributed.

Thus, a lesson in transportation also became a lesson in caring.

According to Diya Sawhney, a college student and project leader of the NGO’s education initiative, “we organised the Metro Rail outing as we felt it would be a great learning opportunity and wanted them to have the real experience of travelling by the Metro”.

The train journey was the culmination of a two-week workshop during which a team of “CanKids Companions” - college and school student volunteers - educated the children about various aspects of transportation.

CanKids…KidsCan, a part of the Indian Cancer Society, works with children diagnosed with cancer and their families, helping them get the best possible treatment, care and support.

Poonam Bagai, a cancer survivor and president of the organisation, started it in 2004. She said that in spite of the fact that 70-90 percent of childhood cancers are curable, the mortality rate of children with cancer in India is 80 percent.

“Our vision is for this 80 percent to survive,” she added.

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