Cuddle Foundation – Providing nutrition support to the needy kids fighting with cancer
In India, malnutrition is a frequent cause of death in children with cancer. In an attempt to break through that, Cuddles Foundation provides nutritional support to over 18,000 children with cancer in 17 hospitals across nine cities in India. All thanks to Purnota Dutta Bahl, Founder and CEO of Cuddles Foundation.
My journey started with a visit to Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai when I came across families that go to cities like Mumbai and New Delhi to seek treatment. There I happened to see a little girl who reminded me so much of my daughter who was exactly the same age. That was the turning point in my life where I decided I had to do something, says Purnota Dutta Bahl.
Cuddles Foundation was founded in 2012. It works in partnership with the government and charity hospitals such as Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, AIIMS in New Delhi, Kidwai Memorial in Bengaluru, SGPGI in Lucknow and NRS Medical College in Kolkata. The foundation facilitates the programs like capacity building at the hospitals, nutritional supplementation, mid day meals in OPD and providing ration baskets to the families in need of nutritional support.
The organization provides nutritional supplements like Pediasure, Threptin biscuits, lassi and fruits. Some children are also provided with equipments like feeding tubes. Provision of monthly ration to parents to help them stay in treatment has been a very succesful program. The powerful motivational impact of the program can be visibly noticed in the report released by TATA Memorial Hospital, mentioning that the food became the key contributor in drastically bringing down the abandonment rate from 20 percent to 3.7 percent.
Cuddles Foundation has 24 trained nutritionists employed on payroll. They work at the hospitals as part of the pediatric oncology team. The notable point here is, all the team members at the Cuddles Foundation are females. The organization also ensures a three-week fellowship program to the nutritionists at the Tata Memorial Hospital on the intricacies of nutrition for child cancer patients.