On the occasion of the 11th year of Squash A Mile (SAM), a fundraiser for the V Care Foundation, a group of nine students from BD Somani International School and one from Bombay International School came together to help less fortunate families.
The group, comprising BD Somani students Thea Ajoomal, Rianna Holland, Sohaya Ahuja, Mahika Jain, Imaan Virji, Tanvi Patel, Shloka Patel, Ananya Dalal, and Ananya Mehra, connected with underprivileged families through empathy. “Many of us have helped organise SAM for the first time this year, and it has been a fantastic experience. Going to Pathshala, a school for kids who are from marginally challenged families and have come from other cities to Mumbai for their cancer treatment was a one of a kind experience for us and it filled our hearts with empathy for them,” said the student group, leading the initiative this year.
BD Somani Principal Mr. Navroz Billimoria and IGCSE Coordinator, Ms. Kaizeen Jehangir joined the students in running a mile, while friends, relatives and former members of the initiative also came together to show their support.
“We are more motivated to continue our efforts to alleviate the physical, mental, emotional, and psychological suffering caused by cancer. We at BD Somani are excited to provide our support to this annual event in future too, as part of our commitment to community service,” stated the group.
SAM for V Care is held annually on a Sunday morning in the month of September at the Bombay Gymkhana Club, and has raised over Rs. 2.35 crores for the Foundation, benefiting over 3,500 patients. The participants' age can vary from 3 to 84 with one of the youngest participants this year, Rayan Andre Oza, also being a student of B. D. Somani International school. This year, a total of Rs. 13,90,263/- was collected with donations continuing to pour in.
The initiative also has a heartwarming background story. In 2012, one V Care volunteer met Mrs. Renuka Advani at a hospital in Mumbai where she was receiving treatment for breast cancer. They spoke at length about her journey and the difficulties she had faced. Renuka vowed to take action after that talk, while Rhea, her daughter, chose to help fund and spread awareness of a movement to improve the lives of cancer sufferers and their loved ones.
She combined her love of running and squash to develop Squash A Mile (SAM), a fundraiser for the V Care Foundation. The original concept for this came from the United Kingdom's squash community with their Squash-A-Mile programme. In 2012, she rallied support from around 200 people and raised a total of Rs.8.4 lakhs. Everyone, regardless of age, was out there running laps which helped raise funds and spread awareness of cancer in a playful manner, spreading the joy of giving in the process. In the last 5 years V Care has helped 7 lakh patients under their different patient care programs.