Thursday in India

May 1, 2008 at 11:32 am 3 comments

Today made the challenges and nail-biting of getting our Indian visas to enter this country all worth it. It was heart-wrenching, inspirational, and really, really sweaty. I knew before we left Austin that this would probably be our most difficult day emotionally (at least for me). We spent the bulk of it with the folks from Pallium India. We started at their outpatient clinic in Muttacaud, interviewing several cancer survivors onsite before joining the team for two home visits. Their home visit team includes about ten people – a doctor, two nurses and six to seven volunteers from the community – serving patients who are either too ill to come to clinic or don’t have the financial resources. 

This program is absolutely amazing. The people running it are phenomenal and the cancer survivors they serve are so inspiring. The doctor visits the patient once a week, the nurses twice a week, and the volunteers try to stop by and check on them every day. They believe that everyone has a right to live pain free – whether undergoing treatment or nearing the end of life. They also offer emotional and financial support. While all of the stories we heard today were amazing, I was most moved by Mr. Binu. He is 32 years old and has a beautiful family – three small children and a wife. 

When he was diagnosed, the doctor told him there was no cure for his cancer. His family was shattered – afraid to lose a husband, a father, a loved one but also afraid of an uncertain future as he’s the sole breadwinner. Even with his diagnosis, he’s done everything in his power to put his family at ease. He stays bold and happy to keep their spirits up. He doesn’t tell his wife when he’s in pain as not to worry her. He just wants to be strong for them, sacrificing his own needs for those of his wife, two daughters, and son. Palliative India has been a huge part of his attitude as well. He said that, in addition to the medicine and treatment they provide, they give him courage.

Mr. Binu exuded peace and strength. Before I even knew what he was saying, I was moved to tears by his amazing energy and positive attitude. With every answer to our questions, there was a smile on his face. I will not forget Mr. Binu. His story will serve as an inspiration to me for years to come and will most definitely help me keep things in perspective.


Entry filed under: India.

Wednesday in India Last Day in India

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lorraine  |  May 1, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Today’s story brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing the reminder that strength and courage, along with compassion while offering help, are what make humans so remarkable, even when faced with staggering obstacles. Mr. Binu is definitely an inspiration.

  • 2. devon  |  May 1, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    what an amazing experience- thank you for sharing it with us. safe travels and get some rest!

  • 3. Jennifer  |  May 3, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    How incredible! I love that Mr. Binu’s story was so moving to you, even before you knew what he’d said. What a special person.


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