As I write this, I am at the beginning of the second year of Chai for Cancer USA, a fundraising campaign that began in my home country of India and has now spread across the United States. Supporters of The Max Foundation are hosting Chai Addas (tea parties) to raise awareness about the needs of cancer survivors in India, and to raise funds for their support while sharing a cup of chai with friends, neighbors, and family.

This year, Chai Addas will be hosted in many new cities, introducing The Max Foundation’s work to new friends across the United States and Canada. This support means the world to the patients I work with every day, because it provides access to the treatment they need to live with dignity, hope, and joy. I’d like to share a story with you that is close to my heart and is an example of how Chai for Cancer USA supports people facing cancer in India.

When he was initially diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia, Prashant’s first concerns weren’t whether he would be able to afford treatment, it was about how much time he had left…years? Months? Would he be able to complete his degree? Would he be able to care for his father?

But his doctor reassured him. Treatment was available, and before he could worry about the cost of it, Prashant was connected with The Max Foundation and worked on getting enrolled in the access program we administer.

Still, access to the free, life-saving treatment seemed blocked. In order to enroll, Prashant must first take a diagnostic blood test to confirm his diagnosis. This test would cost over 3,000 rupees ($50 USD), an unimaginable amount for Prashant and his father. Even a season’s full harvest wouldn’t cover the cost of the test. They felt hopeless.

Our colleague steps in to alleviate their distress. She gently shares that the cost of the diagnostic testing can be reimbursed for patients like Prashant. Along with gaining access to the life-saving cancer treatment, they also will receive support to pay for any diagnostic testing. 

It was as if the sun burst into the windowless office. With his diagnostic test covered, Prashant was able to fully enroll in the treatment access program without the financial burden on his shoulders. Together, Prashant and his father left the office filled with relief.

Like Prashant, many patients in India cannot afford the cost of diagnostic tests, something that must be done repeatedly throughout their lives (typically four times each year) to ensure their treatment is working. The support we receive through Chai for Cancer USA allows them to take this necessary first step and begin their life-saving treatment. You can playing a vital role in making diagnostic tests are available to many in need – give today to support our patients! Thank you for making this possible.