The family of a woman who lost her life to cancer some years back has been raising funds for the treatment of underprivileged children fighting the same disease.
The woman, Sudeshna Dasgupta Ghosh, died in 2013 after fighting for three years and her family, instead of “looking back and mourning”, has drawn inspiration from her life and is spreading the message that families and patients should keep “their spirits up and not give up”.
The trust, Sudeshna Beacon of Hope (SBOH), was set up in 2016 and is based in the US, where her son and husband live.
SBOH will organise a virtual concert streamed over this weekend for audiences in the US and India to raise funds.
In the past five years, the trust has been able to raise about Rs 15 lakh for children undergoing treatment at Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre and Research Institute in Thakurpukur.
During the pandemic, institutes that serve the needy are struggling to raise funds. The director of the cancer hospital, Arnab Gupta, said: “Donations have gone down”. The institute is “slowly recovering”.
The hospital provides subsidised or free treatment to children whose parents cannot afford it.
“Footfall of patients was also reduced, especially last year, when the livelihood of patients, who are on subsidy was hit hard,” said Gupta.
The hospital works on a “cross-subsidy model” — patients who can pay do so and the revenue collected is used towards providing subsidy to those who cannot afford treatment.
“A battle with cancer is not a medical battle alone but a psychological and financial one, too. We thought we should do what we can to help,” said Sudeshna’s husband Suvasish Ghosh, an engineer settled in Virginia, US.
SBOH Concert 2021, the 6th annual programme, will be online featuring 25 artistes, including vocalists from Kolkata, Colorado, Edinburgh (Scotland) and Seattle, who will come together and give their time to support the cause.
The registration for the concert at sudeshna.org is free.
“We have kept the registration free and let people see and hear… but when they hear the stories of the children or the work that the hospital is doing, many of them donate,” said Ghosh.
For the first two years since the inception in 2016, the concert was held in Kolkata. It shifted to the US in 2018.
The one planned in 2020 in New Jersey had to be cancelled because of Covid-19. Despite the fact that there was no concert, people came forward to contribute to the cause, said Ghosh.
An online concert was held much later.
The concert will be presented virtually on December 4 (9pm EST) and December 5 (6pm IST).