The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Soiree debut for healthy cause
- 11-year-old thalassaemia patient sings to raise funds for hospital

‘Victim’ was not a role Samrat Chanda, age 11, was happy with. So, the thalassaemia patient has decided to sing for his ‘supper’.

Samrat has decided to organise soirees to raise funds for a thalassaemia hospital planned by the Thalassaemia Society of India, where he undergoes treatment.

The student of Bangur Boy’s School, who has been training from the age of four, at his first show for a cause last Sunday, enthralled his audience, including stalwarts like footballers P.K. Banerjee and Sailen Manna. His performance, accompanied by a band, received support from several nursing homes and the Rajarhat-Gopalpur municipality.

Father Sudipto was, at first, dismissive and later, incredulous about his son’s determination. “When he first told us about his musical sessions idea, we laughed it off. But he stuck to his decision and, without our knowledge or help, approached the chairman of the municipality at a picnic held for thalassaemic kids recently.”

Tapas Chatterjee, chairman of Rajarhat–Gopalpur municipality, said he was moved by the boy’s appeal and talked with local representatives of the thalassaemia society on how to go about the soiree. After several local nursing homes agreed to sponsor the event, there was no looking back.

When told of the motive behind the show, the stage-owner, the lightmen and sound equipment suppliers refused to be paid. Ranjit Chakrabarty, member of the society that coordinated the show, said: “I was moved by the devotion with which the child made his debut. We cheered him heartily as he sang his way to success.”

For little Samrat, it was a cherished dream come true. “I do not know if my health will permit me but I want to do more such shows. I can win sponsorships, with which I will help build the hospital where we thalassaemic children can get treated under one roof, wihout harassment to our parents. They are already far too distressed,” said Samrat.

What Samrat and others like him now need — apart from encouragement — is the funds to hold such shows and functions, so that they can muster the funds for their treatment. This is where the sponsors could step in.

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