Cancer Free Zone

Raising awareness of cancer and supporting cancer patients through events and a digital platform.

Photo of Anjani
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Additional categories (optional)

  • Technology

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

05/08/2002

Help us stay in touch!

anjani.pangal@gmail.com 428 Fuchsia Ln, CA: San Ramon (94582)

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

http://cancerfreezone.org/

Date You Started Your Project Started

06/18/2014

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan for the future)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Imagine waking up one morning and being unable to breathe. You see your family. Their eyes are red and puffy. For a second you forget that you are choking, thinking, what’s wrong? You cry for help, flail your arms, kick your legs- nothing works. You are completely isolated. Unfortunately, this year, in the United States alone, 1.7 million people will feel this way when they’re diagnosed with cancer. Cancer Free Zone is committed to changing this.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Cancer Free Zone focuses on supporting cancer patients and raising awareness of cancer. We do this in many ways. The first way is through educating people about the preventions and cures of cancer. This can help ease a lot of tension for cancer patients and their family members what the disease entails and what exactly they are dealing with, making it seem easier and simpler. We host numerous events in order to reach a greater mass of people, including yoga workshops, radio shows, cricket tournaments, bone marrow registry drives, and karaokes. Through these events, we are also able to raise funds to cover the cost of treatment for underprivileged cancer patients. We do this with the help of Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation, which is a non-profit hospital and research center located in Bangalore, India, that provides low-cost cancer treatment to patients. Our next step is to increase personal support for cancer patients. This can be done by creating a portal to connect cancer patients with cancer survivors, oncologists/experts, and non-profit organizations. This way, patients will have a support system and can find everything they need in one place.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

5 years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. At this time, nobody in my family understood what the word “cancer” meant, let alone the devastation it would bring to us. For an endless year, we watched her undergo 13 cycles of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy. In the end, the doctors told us that we were lucky, she survived. I thought to myself, what could that possibly mean? How could anyone with cancer be lucky? I later realized what they were trying to say. We had the support of all our friends and family, the best technology and doctors, financial stability, and insurance. Despite this, cancer was undoubtedly an incredibly traumatic experience. But just imagine if we didn’t have any information on cancer, didn’t have a support structure, and weren’t able to afford treatment. What would we go through? To me, this thought was painstaking, I needed to help these people.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

A few months ago, during a trip to India, I visited Sraavi, a one-year-old baby who was diagnosed with leukemia. Her parents had spent all their savings on her first 3 cycles of chemotherapy and ended up falling short for the remaining cycles. They found out about us through word-of-mouth and reached out in distress. They thought their baby was not going to survive, not because she was unable to fight cancer, but because they couldn’t afford to pay for her hospital bills. Through multiple pledges and programs, Cancer Free Zone was able to cover Sraavi’s treatment. When I met her family, they thanked me with tears in their eyes, explaining that they felt helpless and we saved them. Sraavi is now a cheerful survivor with a long life ahead of her. Her parents continually send videos of her playing with her brother and messages of gratitude.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

Cancer Free Zone is focused on supporting cancer patients and their families in numerous ways. We have different approaches to provide them with the financial support, educational support, and social support that they require. Our main reason for creating a portal is to increase the accessibility of information and support for patients. During diagnosis and treatment, patients and family members are too overwhelmed to look for the correct websites and organizations to reach out to. The portal would unify our outreach programs while creating a single stop for all of the patients’ needs.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Over the past few years, we have conducted numerous events, including cancer-awareness programs, bone marrow registry drives, karaokes, and cricket tournaments. Through our endeavors, we have saved the lives of 18 poverty-stricken cancer patients, receiving videos in return, of them thanking us with gratitude. We have also reached out to over 800 people and educated them on cancer, including complementary therapies. While researching one day, I found out that yoga can help to prevent cancer. Seeing this, I chose to take a 200-hour teacher’s training course in order to teach others yoga. Since then, through Cancer Free Zone (CFZ), I have taught 300 people yoga at various schools and non-profits organizations, promoting healthy living and disease prevention. I am also currently doing immuno-oncological research on a possible therapeutic for lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma through CFZ.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

We want to have one cancer support digital platform where anybody can seek support, gain knowledge and help others battling cancer from anywhere in the world. People would be able to seek advice from experts, gain strength and confidence talking to other survivors, discuss with service-oriented oncology nurses, read articles on complementary therapies, and gain more information about cancer prevention and healthy living. CFZ volunteers will liaison cancer patients with non-profit organizations that offer them a variety of free services. We are also working to gain more visibility and expand. We have members located around the world and are in the process of establishing international chapters to reach more people and host more events.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Brand Development

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations over $10k

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

My cousin Sachin Rammoorthy told me about this challenge. My college counselors from school, Ms. Ashley McWilliams and Ms. Shannon Harrison told me about it as well.

Evaluation results

124 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 75.2%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 18.2%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 6.6%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 83.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 14.9%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 1.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 67.5%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 28.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 4.2%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 16.2%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 4.8%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 84.7%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 12.1%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 3.2%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

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Nicely done Anjani ... you have the charisma to bring the change ... go for it ...

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