How Teens for Cancer Patients Is Fostering Cancer Awareness
We had the opportunity to speak to Varshini Vijay of Teens for Cancer Patients about her vital work in fostering cancer awareness.
Can you start off by telling us the story behind Teens for Cancer Patients, what inspired you to start it and what the reaction has been?
Having a family member diagnosed with cancer was extremely painful for me. The impact on my whole family - including the financial burden, the emotional trauma, and the question of survival haunted me. After doing a bit of research, I was shocked to find that very few international cancer NGOs for teenagers existed. I realized this was a problem that needed to be changed, and I knew I had be part of the solution. After some deliberation, I decided to create Teens for Cancer Patients (TCP).
TCP is an international youth-led organization dedicated to battling cancer. Since we launched in September of 2021, we’ve been able to serve over 500 people across 12 countries, and have steadily built up over 10 chapters. A lot of our work concerns awareness, which is why we’ve organized events such as “The Impact of COVID-19 On Cancer Prevention” to highlight some of the issues we feel have gone unsaid during the pandemic. We’ve also provided over 10,000 menstrual products to combat cervical cancer and have fundraised for cancer patients in financially-sensitive situations.
The overall response to our work has been incredible. Not only have we been able to help those affected by cancer, but we’ve also helped our volunteers become more aware of the disease.
Recently, you organized an event - called “The Silent Disaster” - that explored the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer prevention. Would you mind summarizing some of the key points you discussed in it?
Recently, we hosted an event called "The Silent Disaster" for over 100 attendees. The event focussed on the impact of COVID-19 on cancer prevention. Speakers included: Padma Shri award-winner Dr. Kannan, the CEO of Karunashraya (a.k.a. the Bangalore Hospice Trust); Mathew Chandy and TEDx speaker Ravi Mehrotra from the World Health Organization.
One of the purposes of the event was to educate people about the financial burdens of cancer. For example, many patients here in India struggle to pay for their treatments. COVID-19 has only worsened the situation, as hospital beds have reached capacity.
We tried to make the event as fun as possible, so we mixed in a lot of interactive breakout sessions between speeches. Ultimately, as a result of our event, 97% of the attendees reported that they were inspired to foster change in their local communities.
You can learn more about the event by clicking here.
On a personal level, what can people do to help ensure they’re putting their health first and keeping cancer at bay?
Teens for Health is our campaign where we plan to speak to over 1000 students on the impact of cancer and how to remain healthy. We want to emphasize the importance of practicing mental wellness through exercising, proper sleep, and diet.
You can request a TCP representative to speak at your school by clicking on this link: https://forms.gle/NYiXvrw7a79PmsUw7
Finally, how can those reading this interview support your work and mission?
Our work has taught us that, no matter who you are or where you come from, you can be a changemaker in your community and society at large.
If you want to experience the joy of joining a close-knit, international family that wants to make a difference by volunteering, giving back to your community, and saving lives, please email us at email@example.com.
You can also visit us here.
Finally, if you’d like to make a donation to help us provide urgent chemotherapy treatment to patients, click here.