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Home News and Update Year 2009 This Doc Pedalled 1,600 kms to Spread Message of Hope

This Doc Pedalled 1,600 kms to Spread Message of Hope

Times of India
17 July 2009
Mumbai, India

Cycling from one state to another for days on end might be a dream many harbour, but for UK palliative care expert Thomas Middlemiss, it wasn’t just an adventure. The 30–year–old, who cycled 1,600 kms from Trivandrum to Mumbai on a no–gear bicycle, was spreading the word and the message of hope for terminally–ill cancer patients along the way.

‘Freedom from avoidable pain and suffering is a basic human right’, was the message Middlemiss carried as he stopped along the route promoting the importance of palliative care. A much–ignored field, palliative care involves care of terminally–ill patients and strives to make their last days as comfortable as possible.

Cancer specialists from Tata Memorial Hospital, which offers palliative care services, estimate that 70% of the 2.5 million persons diagnosed with cancer every year in the country require palliative care but less than 0.4% get it.

That’s the gap Middlemiss tried to bridge as he pedalled along. He worked for six months in Trivandrum before setting out on his expedition on June 13. He reached the Gateway of India on Thursday.

“Many people thought cycling from Trivandrum to Mumbai was impossible, as impossible as fighting a life–threatening condition. But, just like the trip, the fight against cancer possible”, Middlemiss said. He pointed out that he realised en route the lack of any palliative care facilities in tourist hub Goa. “Raising awareness among doctors is one of our most important jobs”, he added.

Saying he had flagged off an initiative, the Britisher hoped an Indian member of the palliative care community would travel the route every year to carry forward his message of hope.

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