The end of the project year is here and with it, is the beginning of the feedback sessions for all our projects. HOPE, being the paediatric oncology program is the most sensitive one of Mumbai Smiles, since it strives to psychologically and socially support children suffering from the fatal disease of cancer. This includes logistical, educational and nutritional support as well as some fun activities for these children as well as their parents, to help them come to terms with the unfortunate situation of their lives, with much positivism, courage and hope.
Beneficiary Committee Meetings is a way to periodically check the progress of the activities, development of the beneficiaries as well as take in to account the positive and negative feedback of the beneficiaries and their family members, in order to ensure accountability and transparency among us all. And recently we had one of these meetings for HOPE project.
14 members present at this meeting included the parents of the current as well as previous patients, staff of Holy Spirit, our partner hospital including Sister Matilda (Cancer Centre In-Charge) and Mr. Ceceli (Assistant Finance Director of the hospital), Ms. Supriya (Program Officer) and Mr. Jaume Sanllorente (Founder & President of Mumbai Smiles). The meeting was an important way of one on one communication with Jaume of all the beneficiaries’ parents for discussing their feedback of the year’s activities and for any suggestions for the projects. And hence, each and every parent and hospital staff present spoke out their heart, discussing in details the kind of support they have received, their expectations from this project for the future as well as suggestions for new activities.
It was heartwarming to see that Suman Fernandes and Martha D’Souze, who are Akshay’s and Joshua’s mothers respectively (Akshay and Joshua are our new beneficiaries) was interacting with Fatima and Suchitra, who are Ilyas’ and Ananya’s mothers respectively, (our cancer survivors) and getting quick tips, “Do not ever skip any check up or dosage of the medication/radiation. Ensure the course of the treatment is completed without any breaks. And along with medicines, your constant support, love and encouragement is what will treat your child well!” said Fatima. Suchitra continued on that saying, “Chemo has side effects on the mood of your child too, be patient with him, bear with his discomfort and shower him with comfort and proper diet and soon he will be fine. Just be patient and listen to the doctor.” Adding to this, our President, Jaume said, “Positive thinking is very, very, very important. If you are strong and hopeful, your child will feel strong and hopeful too. Medicines do 50% of the treatment, the rest comes from within and the will to survive plays a very important role in treatment of any disease!”
At the end, Sister Matilda suggested to our Founder & President, to consider expanding financial support to the patients too and we are taking it into consideration for sure. However, considering the limited resources we have, even if we are not able to do it ourselves, we will try our level best to create a network of support from other sources for the children.
We are extremely thankful to our all support systems, the parents, hospital staff, sisters, doctors, administrative representatives who made the treatment possible for these children, who are the future of our city and we hope to together make Mumbai a healthier place to live!