The Red Button...

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan

All it takes is the press of a red button by a trigger happy finger belonging to a despot and everything - your dreams, your aspirations and goals - all of it would come to an  abrupt end. And we may never even get to be with the ones we love in that brief moment before the flames engulf us. Nihilistic perhaps, but sadly, that's the truth of the world we live in today.
Now what if you actually had a chance to stop that finger from pressing the button ? What if you could save your dreams and goals and actually live long enough to achieve them ? Would you, if given the chance, be able to resist pressing that red button ?

Everyday, there are red buttons all around you waiting to be triggered and hasten your demise. It could be a rash driver on the road, it could be horrible work hours, it could be the simple second helping of ice cream. Some of these can be avoided and some resolved once they're identified, but what about the ones you can't identify till it's too late ? What about the ones that are 1/ millionth the size of your eyelash ? That's roughly the size of a human cell and the DNA within. Like us, they too evolve to the environment that they are subjected to. And within these tiny building blocks lie the biggest red button waiting dormant. It's a word we all dread. It's a word we all pretend can never happen to us. It's something that's been dogging us even before we could recognise it.


There is no easy way to deal with it. By the time any visible signs or symptoms arise, enough cells within you are affected and they've spread across the body. There are cures for some of them - Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy or Surgical excision. All of it comes with a catch though - your life expectancy is reduced dramatically. Not to decades, but years, maybe even months. The quantity of life is one thing, but what about the quality of life ? That is gone forever.
No age is immune from one or the other form of cancer. Not the newborn baby, not the child playing in the swing, not the ipod wielding teenager, the work oriented adult or the housewife cooking her meals. All of us are at risk. We cannot stop  the chain of events that come to pass once we've been diagnosed, but we can learn to avoid it. We can learn to say no to irritants that look to press this red button that will destroy us and devastate all who depend on us. Because cancer is one case where 'ignorance is definitely not bliss'.

Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) is a NGO dedicated to total management of cancer since 1969. They provide untiring service to patients not just in India, but also neighbouring countries. It may have started out as a group of people who could only supply fruit baskets and newspapers to patients decades ago, but it is today a multi-faceted organisation, with doctors and well wishers all joining hands for the betterment of people suffering from cancer.

Beyond Blue Skies (BBS) , unlike CPAA, is not an NGO. They don't want money. They need our time. Specifically, 6 hours of your time every teach,train and help the needy get employment and better job opportunities. Their primary focus remains educational programs for children who don't have this basic necessity. It is a unique venture that deserves due credit and applause because it allows us to share something which we all have, irrespective of our paycheque - our knowledge.

CPAA is holding a camp on the 28th of May,2011 in Mumbai with the support of BBS. The purpose of this camp is simple and selfless - qualified doctors will be there to perform a free, detailed checkup for all who come. They can help identify symptoms at the earliest and advise you accordingly on further management. There will also be an interactive session on the hazards of tobacco and the benefits of quitting.

The camp will be held at Pheonix Mills, Lower Parel, Mumbai between 11 to 4 pm on the 28th of May 2011.
I sincerely hope you make the time and effort to go for it. The few hours you spend here may save your life.

P.S. In addition, BBS also requests for volunteers for the event and also other initiatives. Anyone and everyone can contribute irrespective of their geographical location. You can write in to or join their group on Facebook to know more.
Who knows... a few hours of your time may save more than your life... it may actually help save others as well.

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Let me know what you think.

  1. great effort there..kudos!

  2. Thanks Roshan.... Cancer is something that always makes me sit up and listen - great article!

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