KOCHI: Ten years ago, pained by the struggles of cancer-affected children and their parents, a group of six doctors and medical scientists started an NGO to offer them a helping hand. Over the years, the Kochi-based Butterfly Foundation has helped treat 471 children from across the country.
“As medical scientists and doctors, we know the significance of identifying and treating cancers in children at the earliest. So we launched the Butterfly Foundation, and using the connections we have with doctors, we identify the children who need help. Over the past 10 years, 471 children from across the country have been supported,” said Dr Manitha Nair, one of the founding members of the Butterfly Foundation.
Dr Manzoor K, Dr Girish C M, Dr Sudhakar Muthaliya, Dr Vijay Harish and Dr Anusha Ashokan are the other co-founders of the NGO. Their interventions have helped to cure over 90% of the children of cancer.
A professor and scientist at the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences in Kochi, Dr Manitha said children from rural areas are given priority considering their lack of access to quality healthcare systems. Apart from providing cancer care and treatment to the children, the foundation also supports their education and helps them find suitable employment and build careers. “The aim is to alter the cancer care system by bringing NGOs, hospitals, technologies, philanthropists and companies together,” said Dr Aju Mathew, a Kochi-based oncologist who has been associated with the Butterfly Foundation from 2019.
Given that a holistic approach can help cancer survivors live a better life, Dr Manitha said the children are constantly monitored even after treatment.
“We should support these children to lead a better life. Social and emotional support from society can empower them. When it comes to cancer care, we need to think beyond finances,” she emphasised.
The NGO raises funds through CSR initiatives and sponsorships.