Binaytara Foundation: Advocate, Educate, Innovate to Improve Healthcare

Participate, Learn, and Advocate for Cancer Patients at the Northwest Cancer Patient Summit: A Free Cancer Education Program

Written with help from Kelsey Landies, Health Education Intern at the Binaytara Foundation.

On February 3rd, 2018, the Binaytara Foundation will be hosting the third Northwest Cancer Patient Summit at the health education center located at PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center, Bellingham, WA. The goal of this free cancer education event is to improve the lives of cancer patients through education, advocacy, and empowerment. The Northwest Cancer Patient Summit is open to cancer patients, cancer survivors, friends and family of cancer patients/survivors, and anyone who simply wants to learn more about cancer. Attendees of this free cancer education event will have the opportunity to interact with cancer care providers and learn about various topics related to cancer.

The financial burden of cancer is huge, even among individuals who have insurance. It is not uncommon for many cancer patients to end up with larger medical bill than expected.  Our goal is to educate cancer patients not only about their diseases but also about other aspects of lives that can affect their recovery. Erin Robertson, an oncology patient financial advocate at PeaceHealth, will be discussing how to navigate insurance benefits and understand what they mean for cancer care. Other panelists in this session will discuss various support services and community resources available to cancer patients and their families.

Several attendees of our previous Northwest Cancer Patient Summits had expressed interest in learning about alternative and complementary therapy in cancer; the upcoming free cancer education program on February 3, 2018 will address that topic. Dr. Maria Putney, a naturopathic doctor practicing in Bellingham, WA, will be discussing various complementary and alternative therapies that can be used to help alleviate pain, anxiety, nausea, insomnia, and constipation related to cancer. Participants will have opportunities to ask questions and clarify their concerns related to these therapies and other topics discussed during this free cancer education program.

Dr. Binay Shah, co-founder of the Binaytara Foundation and a practicing oncologist, will discuss new updates in immunotherapy in cancer. This topic has been previously discussed during our free cancer patient education programs and is being included again due to the high level of interest and enthusiasm from participants. Immunotherapy and many other cancer treatments have saved many lives. But for many cancer patients, the cost of cancer care is so high that they have to choose between death and bankruptcy. The BTF aims to address this cost of cancer care issue with your help and participation.

The Binaytara Foundation is taking a lead to help improve the quality lives of cancer patients through advocacy, education, and innovation. Our latest effort to create a momentum to reduce cancer health disparities is through a face to face dialogue and education.  The 2018 Summit on National and Global Cancer Health Disparities (SCHD18) will bring together leaders in the field of healthcare to discuss and debate the issues related to rising costs of cancer care and what can be done to bring down the cost of cancer care. During this two-day summit, physician leaders, health economists, healthcare executives, lawmakers, pharmaceutical executives, and patients advocates will sit next to each other in two round-table debates to address questions and concerns related to the cost of cancer care.

We realize that making high quality cancer care accessible and affordable requires participation and cooperation from everyone involved in the spectrum of healthcare, including patients and community members. Therefore, we are asking you to participate and help reduce the disparities in cancer health. The SCHD18 sessions are open to all who are interested in minimizing cancer health disparities. Please join us in Seattle on April 28-29, 2018 to advocate for better access to cancer care. Learn more about SCHD18 here.

The Cancer Monster

Once upon a time, there was a monster that was known as cancer. The monster killed people by entering their body and sucking the life out of them. Once it attached itself to someone’s body, cancer kept growing, bigger and bigger until the person died. Cancer sometimes made entry from the lungs, sometimes from the mouth, sometimes the brain itself, or the kidneys or the bladder, or the cervix, or the breast, or any other part of the body as it desired.

The monster did not spare any race, any age, any ethnicity, any religion and any sex. Rich, poor, black, white, brown, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Jewish, Sikh, Atheists – all were affected! Once it attacked someone, the cancer monster dragged that person to the grave! The mankind got alarmed! People didn’t know how to deal with this monster but they desperately started looking for ways to handle this cancer monster. 

Over the decades, humans started researching and gaining better insights into why and how this cancer monster attacks our bodies. This understanding helped them develop new technologies, medicines, and procedures to deal with cancer monster, some of these new developments were so effective that cancer will completely vanish from the body. Just when some people were celebrating these innovations and new lives given by these innovations, others were having to give up on their life savings and everything they ever owned to be able to utilize these newly discovered miracles that could kill the cancer monster inside their body and potentially save their lives.

Does this story sound familiar to you? Can you relate to it? Who do we blame for this problem? What do you think we as a community can do to ensure that cancer treatment is affordable? Join us in this effort to make cancer care accessible and affordable for all who need it. #SCHD18 is on April 28-29, 2018. We will be in Seattle discussing this issue with the stakeholders across the spectrum of cancer care. Register today to advocate for affordable cancer treatments.


Message from BTF president

As the year 2016 comes to an end and we prepare to welcome the new year, I would like to thank you for your support to the Binaytara Foundation and its projects.

The year 2016 was pretty eventful for me personally and for the Binaytara Foundation. I started a new job, moved to a new town, and received the Sweeny Spirit of Medicine award from the University of Illinois School of Medicine . But these events are normal part of life and don’t have much impact on the rest of the world. On the other hand, the Binaytara Foundation has made lasting impacts in many lives this year.

I need your support to continue these efforts and to make impacts on a bigger scale. I know there are many worthy causes to donate to. Here is why the Binaytara Foundation’s projects are equally in need of your support.

The Binaytara Foundation started the year 2016 by establishing a home hospice program in Nepal in January. The program has already served 74 patients as of November 2016. The Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Center we helped establish in Nepal started BMT services in August 2016; 3 patients have already been given second life through this project. In November 2016, we partnered with the government of India to establish a home hospice program in Madhya Pradesh, a state that is home to 73 million people. This partnership will forever change the way terminally ill patients in India spend the last few days or weeks of their lives.

Please make a donation now and help us touch more lives.

The Binaytara foundation has some ambitious plans for the coming years. The need for hospice care in Nepal is ever growing and there are no home hospice or palliative care services available to people living outside of Kathmandu valley. We plan to mobilize local physicians, donors, grant-makers and our dedicated volunteers to make hospice care available in all of Nepal within the next two years. By utilizing technology and training the existing healthcare manpower, we believe this goal, while ambitious, is attainable if we continue to get the support of generous donors and well-wishers like you.

At the Binaytara Foundation, we believe in humanity not in boundaries. Besides our projects in Nepal and India, we are starting two cancer related projects in Washington state to improve the quality of life of cancer patients. I feel very privileged to have the friends & partners like you and being in a position to make a difference. When I started this organization about a decade ago, it was that faith in you and the confidence that you will support me in this mission that encouraged me to get involved in this humanitarian mission.

I am writing today, with the same faith and confidence that you will support our projects. The cost of our home hospice project is less than $25/day. Please make a donation to our projects and help the people far and near have a better quality of life.

Please sign up for our newsletter to receive updates and reports on this project. If you would like to volunteer or be part of this endeavor in any other way, or if you have any question, please do not hesitate to email me – [email protected]

Thank you again for your support!

With gratitude,
Binay Shah, MD MHA
President, Binaytara Foundation

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