for the patients of North Western India
Your gift means we can bring hope to underprivileged cancer patients in India, to help in their battle against cancer.
Together, we can make a difference in their lives.
Provide free diagnosis, medication and treatment for underprivileged patients.
Upgrade healthcare facilities and equipment.
CANCER, the world’s 2nd leading cause of death, is alarmingly prevalent in the farming region of Malwa.
The region has seen such a fast growing number of cancer patients that it is known as the Cancer Capital of India.
An average of 136 people per 100,000 suffer from the disease, exceeding the national average of 80 per 100,000.
Everyday, an average of 18 deaths occur in this region due to cancer.
The cancer patients are predominantly farmers and their families from the Malwa region which includes Barnala, Bathinda, Faridkot, Moga, Muktsar, Fazilka, Patiala, Ludhiana, Ferozepur, Ropar, Mohali, Sangrur, Fatehgarh sahib and Mansa.
What is the cause?
Studies indicate excessive and unregulated use of pesticides on food crops as one of the leading causes.
This results in farmers and their families living in a cesspool of toxicity that also contaminates the water they drink and bathe in.
Malwa farmers’ use of pesticides is 923 g/ha (grams per hectare), way above the national average of 570 g/ha. Of the top 15 pesticides used, the US's Environmental Protection Agency considers seven of them as 'possible' or 'known' human carcinogens (acephate, dichloropropene, diuron, fluometuron, pendimethalin, tribufos, and trifluralin).
Farmers believe they may be paying the price for the success of the 1970s' Green Revolution. That was when farmers in the region switched from traditional farming methods to a combo formula of high yield seeds-fertilizer-pesticide-water. The region on average accounts for 19% of wheat and 13% of India's rice production. The Green Revolution ensured India’s capacity to export food grains to the world.
India's Cancer Train
Every night at 9:00pm, a train arrives at Bathinda railway station and departs at 9:30pm to cover a distance of 324km to reach the city of Bikaner around 5am. The official name of this train is the Abohar-Jodhpur Passenger train. Over the decade, it has gained the name ‘Cancer Train’ by the locals due to the fact that there are around 100 cancer patients travelling on this train daily.
The patients undertake this 8 hour long journey to visit Acharya Tulsi Regional Cancer Treatment and Research Institute, one of the oldest and prime centres for cancer treatment in North-West India. The hospital runs with a mission to provide affordable care to all economic sections of society. Amongst other things, they provide free and subsidised diagnosis, medicine and treatment for underprivileged patients. For many, it is the only affordable option.
The Indian Railways also provide concession for cancer patients going for their treatment. They are entitled for 100 % concession while one of their attendants gets 75% concession on the fare.
About the JOURNEY OF HOPE
featuring Flags by SYML
This CANCER ASSISTANCE initiative is the extension of JOURNEY OF HOPE, a documentary /music video for the song FLAGS by artist SYML aka Brian Fennell.
Fennell’s heartbreaking track, “Flags”, was born from watching a loved one’s battle with Cancer. For the music video, he collaborated with Studio Birthplace who captured the true story of Sapna, a 10-year-old girl living below the poverty line in North-West India who suffers from blood cancer.
Fennell says, “I started playing ‘Flags’ on tour to cope with the loss of my friend. It’s been therapeutic and gutting. It’s not uncommon for people to come up to me after each show and share stories about cancer. One of the stories that stuck with me was about a train in India. Patients who lacked access to treatment, due to expense or proximity, were taking an overnight ‘cancer train’ to a hospital where they could receive treatment. I couldn’t get the story out of my head. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I'd never thought about the global experience of cancer, how people living in poverty deal with it, and how their environment may increase their chances of getting it.”
A portion of every “Flags” sale, stream and video will also be donated to this fund.
Through Sapna's story and the Cancer Assistance platform, we hope to create awareness and give people all over the world who are suffering from cancer the strength to keep fighting.
For more information about FLAGS, please visit studiobirthplace.com/flags