Cancer Free Zone
Raising awareness of cancer and supporting cancer patients through events and a digital platform.
This video is a message of gratitude sent to Cancer Free Zone by an underprivileged cancer patient. She is thanking us for covering the cost of her cancer treatment.
Javagal Srinath speaking about Cancer Free Zone before our first Cricket Tournament in 2015.
This is a picture I took of Sraavi when I visited her a few months ago. At this time, she was still undergoing chemotherapy, but as we can see, she took it all with a priceless smile on her face.
This is an image of the panel discussion wherein Javagal Srinath, the celebrity cricketer, is speaking about cancer awareness and Cancer Free Zone's noble cause.
This was the flyer for our cricket tournament held in 2017.
In this video, I am being interviewed by TV9, a news channel. I am speaking about the Cancer Free Zone Cricket Tournament which we held in 2017. Javagal Srinath (a celebrity cricketer) came all the way from India just for this tournament and we were able to rally the entire community for a good cause.
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Date You Started Your Project Started
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...”
Selfie Elevator Pitch... Why I founded Cancer Free Zone
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?
10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?
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?
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.