World Palliative Care Day: A Community Celebration of Hope in Hyderabad

The Pain Relief and Palliative Care Society of Hyderabad, India along with collaborative partner organizations, friends, and community supporters came together on October 8th, 2011 to celebrate World Palliative Care Day and honor those whose lives have been touched by serious illness. World Hospice and Palliative Care Day is a unified day of action and awareness to celebrate and support hospice and palliative care efforts around the globe.

The theme for World Palliative Care Day 2011—“Many diseases, many lives, many voices – palliative care for non-communicable conditions—was represented by a dance performed by pediatric cancer patients of the MNJ Institute of Oncology and Regional Cancer Center. At the conclusion of their performance, the children held up a poignant sign stating, “Cancer is Not Contagious.” Sadly, many children diagnosed with cancer in India are socially isolated for fear of spreading the disease to others. In addition, Drum Berries, a community music therapy group in Hyderabad, led a drum circle and demonstrated through active audience participation the power of the individual to make a positive impact and influence others.

Multiple guests of honor attended the ceremony and spoke powerfully about the importance and benefits of palliative care and optimal symptom management. The Chief Guest of Honor was Shri. Dr A. Chakarapani, Honorable Chairman, Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council, who advocated for access to pain medication for people suffering from pain at the end of life. A video presentation was also shown which explained more about palliative care and its crucial role in helping people cope with serious illness. Dr Gayatri Palat, Director of the MNJ Palliative Care Program and Director of INCTR’s Palliative Access (PAX) Program in India, received special recognition by the Honorable Chairman for her pioneering work in palliative care and for her tireless advocacy on behalf of those in need.

At the conclusion of the successful celebration, refreshments were served in the beautiful Jubilee Hall and calendars were sold as a fundraising effort for the Pain Relief and Palliative Care Society. Virginia Lebaron, a visiting researcher at MNJ and a member of INCTR’s PAX program team, was extremely impressed and inspired by the beautiful ceremony and wishes to congratulate all organizers, participants, and attendees for coordinating such a wonderful and meaningful event.

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