St. Judes’ new vertical is a lifelong commitment to pediatric cancer survivors

FPJ BureauUpdated: Thursday, December 08, 2022, 12:50 AM IST
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St. Judes’ credo has always been: ‘Once a St. Judes child, always a St. Judes child’. In keeping with this vision, our vertical St. Judes For Life (Founded in Memory of Mrs. Rani Vicaji) was launched in 2020 to ensure that children who stayed at the various St. Judes Centres during their treatment are able to fulfil their potential. St. Judes for Life provides timely assistance to our alumni (referred to as Judians) to complete their education, maintain good health and lead successful lives. These are children who are from underprivileged families from different parts of the country who have recovered from cancer and are back at their homes leading normal lives.

When St. Judes for Life launched in November 2020, 326 children were enrolled. Currently, we have enrolled 767 children from across the country. We are in the process of registering more than 700 children in the next financial year. Each year more children will be enrolled in the program as they cross the five-year mark since diagnosis.

From the time of their enrolment, on being cancer free for five years since diagnosis of cancer, till they are independent and self-sufficient, St. Judes for Life offers appropriate intervention, directly or through experienced partners, to support and mentor them. Support is offered for education through financial assistance, online courses and devices. Any medical needs that may arise post-treatment are also funded. Counselling is a major support available particularly to teenagers. Career counselling is also provided to Judians from 9th grade. The vertical also engages with local NGO partners to provide Judians with opportunities to upgrade their vocational skills.

One of the biggest achievements for St. Judes For Life in the last two years has been its collaboration with Chennai-based Star Health and Allied Insurance Company Limited, which resulted in the launch of a first-of-its-kind initiative to provide group health and accident insurance cover to cancer survivors. Traditionally, insurance companies avoid providing health insurance to cancer patients and survivors. The initiative covered 326 children under Health and Accident in its first year, and now all 767 Judians are covered.

The vertical also gives palliative care support to families who return home after treatment fails or disease recurs.

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