On an evening seven years ago, a 15-year-old was deeply moved by the plight of those who came for treatment at the Cancer Institute, Adyar and had no option but to stay outside the institute.
N. Aishwariya recalls how miserable the situation was back then. “I was out with my friends and family for dinner. My friends and I were at a sweet shop near the cancer institute when I came across these people and their difficulties. My friends and I immediately came to a decision to do something for them.”
Aishwariya and her friends soon started hunting for a place for their accommodation but all was not easy. “We found a place where the house owner was a little sceptical - he mistook us for kids running away from home and seeking accommodation. We told him about our idea and that patients would come and stay on a rotational basis. Convinced that it was for a good cause, he agreed to give free accommodation to the patients and their caregivers, but we told him to let us pay Rs 600 when the rent was Rs 1,500, as funds would come from us, the young people. He understood the situation."
Days spent with patients taught Aishwariya a lot about life and how important it is to never give up hope. "There were cases of kids when doctors gave up hope but I used to tell the parents to let the kids live their life, enjoy it and not live in agony.”
Aishwariya started feeling that all her efforts were indeed going in the right direction as more families would contact her and seek help when in need. And there was a personal bonding that had already grown in hearts as Aishwariya and her group would have fun celebrations with patients and their family.
“We would provide them with food and what was equally important was the emotional support to both the patients and their caregivers.”
As life happened., Aishwariya, who had cleared her foundation exam for Association of Chartered Certified Accountants when she was in class 11, would have to travel to the UK for her education. “But I would constantly be in touch with them and give them moral support. I was also contributing for whatever monetary needs were there with my pocket money and stipend as I had been working in audit firm.”
Today the cancer institute has two homes in Adyar but Aishwariya keeps her good work going. It's a part of her life to visit the children at the homes, listen to their stories and concerns and offer help to whoever needs it genuinely....