A file picture of Yuvraj Singh launching the cancer detection centre in Ranchi in May 2013
In May 2013, cricket heartthrob and cancer survivor Yuvraj Singh launched a free detection and screening centre for the dreaded disease in Ranchi when he came to play for Pune Warriors in IPL-6. In May 2014, his philanthropic innings has already timed out, allegedly because partner Apollo Hospitals have bowled an “unresponsive” googly.
Yuvraj — Yuvi to his fans — made the announcement about the screening facility on Hatia Station Road, partnered by Apollo Hospitals, based on the premise that early detection was a must to control cancer.
“People are aware about my battle with cancer (in left lung) and my resolve to win it and live a normal life,” he had said, touching how his experience led to the launch of his foundation YouWeCan, the name a pun on Yuvi. “You and We together can fight cancer,” the dashing southpaw had stressed.
Yuvi was in Ranchi from May 17 to Monday morning for the ongoing IPL-7. But, no one mentioned the Ranchi cancer detection centre. People associated with the centre told The Telegraph that it was “virtually shut”.
“The free detection was a noble initiative in a place where affordable healthcare is scarce and the state of government hospitals is known to all. But it’s been over six months that the centre is lost in oblivion. The lone specialist doctor (Dr Gunjan) is also going back to Mumbai now,” said an official who did not want to be named.
Heritage conservationist S.D. Singh, who had lent his residential space free for the cause, rued Apollo Hospitals’ “indifference”.
“When the cricketer’s foundation and hospital approached me last year, I readily agreed to provide space free of cost to set up the cancer detection centre. I felt happy I was participating in a noble cause. Later on, the hospital management asked me to refurbish the allotted space and gave me a list of medical kits to install, asking me to procure them locally and promising to reimburse expenses later. I invested over Rs 50,000 only to suffer personal losses,” Singh alleged.
He added he had sent over a dozen text messages and emails to Calcutta-based CEO of Apollo Hospitals Rupali Basu but she did not answer.
“Specialist Dr Gunjan from Mumbai, who initially gave free consultations to some dozen patients here, is waiting for his promised fees since months. He hasn’t got a single penny and neither have I for my investments. I don’t know what transpired between Yuvraj’s foundation and the partner hospital, but the detection centre is now left in lurch,” he rued.
When The Telegraph called up Basu, her phone was unreachable.
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