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Terminally Ill deserves a better quality of Life

five years of efforts.

"This is a valuable resource that will help us provide our patients the means to control their pain without depending on the goodwill of others," said Harmala Gupta, president and founder of CanSupport.

Among probably less than 100 groups including a dozen government-run institutions across the country providing shelter and palliative care, CanSupport was set up eight years ago by Gupta to spread awareness that most cases of cancer are treatable if detected in their early stages.

It also supports families in their struggle to cope with the pain of looking after terminally ill people.

"There is no legislative protection in India unlike in the West where there are safeguards for the rights of people with perceived disability," said Gupta, who faced discrimination 18 years back and failed to get a good job despite her qualifications when she was diagnosed with cancer.

"Even now people with cancer face discrimination and get no support from their place of work," said Gupta.

Apart from providing medical attention at home, groups like CanSupport lend a sympathetic ear to family members and caregivers looking after terminally ill patients. They also provide day care facilities and medicines and try to spread some cheer among patients and caregivers.

In many cases, they even help to fulfil the last wishes of a dying person. In the case of Gita, a poor woman with three children, CanSupport was able to convince her alcoholic husband to allow the children to be placed in an orphanage with good education facilities to ease her pain in the last days.

Twelve-year-old Vivek passed away happy after seeing his poor mother and siblings getting one meal everyday and his wish of giving them a tour of Delhi was fulfilled.

"There are no words of consolation that one can offer. Giving them dignity and relief from pain is the only thing one can do," said Gupta.
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