Monday, April 22, 2013

Counseling Center for People Affected With Cancer

My dream is something that would not make me rich or bring in profits. Many would ask me, why start a business if there is no monetary profit in it. Life has taught me lessons that everything cannot be bought with money; the best things of life are always free. My plan is to start an online counseling center for people going through cancer. Online center because it will be easy for people who wish to contribute to the cause have an easy to access the center, save on rent and infrastructure of the real office, and moreover save time required for people to travel to the counseling center which means a lot for professionals and people dealing with cancer.
 I have got to see the demon called cancer more than once and that too from very close quarters. First my dad was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1992, then my sister with breast cancer in 1994 and myself with breast cancer in 1996. We had a break after my diagnosis and thought we have seen the end of cancer. But it came back in 2004 attacking my mom. In 2005, when my mom had recurrence of breast cancer within a year of her surgery, I was devastated. I could not deal with the emotional turmoil of cancer anymore all alone and I needed support from people who have been or were going through it.
Unfortunately, I could not get in touch with any group or organization that could lend me emotional support in India. Finally I got in touch with few survivors from USA, who lent me support, a shoulder to cry on; a place to vent out my frustrations as I helplessly watched my mother succumb to the beast called breast cancer. Though the support was virtual and I did not get to meet the SIS (sisters in survival) for another 3 years, their support meant a lot to me.
Being a survivor of 3rd grade breast cancer for more than 17 years now, and also the only survivor of cancer in my family, I feel it is time I give back something to others who are going through the same crisis in their life. My own experience along with the suffering and losing my dear ones has given me a great insight into the trauma that accompanies diagnoses of cancer. Adding to this is my close interactions with many other people who have been through this ordeal.
 I did not just make a decision and wait for things to happen but went ahead and started preparing for my dream project. To be a counselor, just the diploma in counseling skills was not sufficient; therefore I decided to graduate in Psychology which I did last year. At present I am preparing for my M.S. in Counseling and Psychotherapy. Apart from being a part of Ladybirds group of cancer survivors, I have become a member of Pink Hope group of survivors in HCG. In addition I started working as an online counselor for Banjara Academy. All these are going to be the foundation stones for my dream project of starting an effective counseling center for people affected with cancer.
business,concepts,communications,laptop computers,men,networking,notebook,people,women,occupations,technologyThis will take time and a lot of organizing before it can be launched, but Microsoft office 365 makes it look much more possible than it looked earlier, especially the investment for one year which would be below INR 5000/-. So there is no need to worry about funds.
It will give access to people to the counseling center from any part of the globe, but it will be created keeping the needs of Indian in mind. We can put up information they need through Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Excel. PowerPoint and video clips can be used to make the information easier to understand by the patients. Doctors, counselors and other professionals who are willing to contribute for this cause, can spend some time on HD video conference, counseling and imparting information to the patients.  It would be easy to manage by anyone as it does not ask for expertise in IT to work through it. Reports about new research, findings, medicines and other cancer related information can be updated under the guidance of the administrator.
Being work at home mom, I know the power of Microsoft office which helps me organize and execute my work effectively. Having such an office virtually, which gives the employees an access to the tools of Microsoft office from anywhere would be a dream come true for my project. The team of people who will come together to help the cause of fighting cancer can remain connected, synchronized and manage things in spare time from the comfort of their homes.
The counseling center would find out about the cost of treatment at various hospitals, experts available for specific cancer types and their consultation fees, what are the different types of tests, surgeries, therapies and medicines which may be involved in the treatment process and moreover counseling and emotional support for the people fighting their battle with cancer. The online center should be able to create an ambience of confidence, friendliness and assurance which would boost the will power of the patient.
People in a business meeting brainstorming
Any bright idea can be shared instantly with
Cancer is not pushed out of our lives with the treatment, it remains with us forever. The near death situation we have been through leaves us totally a different person after the experience. So there will be a corner for survivors in the counseling center, where they both contribute emotional support to newly diagnosed patients and find support for the problems they face after their ordeal with cancer. For survivors it would be a get together spot, along with guidance to finding prosthetics, coping with changes and taking charge of life once again. I know how much I had to struggle to get my first breast prosthetics and wig during the chemotherapy sessions.
For everyone in general, the counseling center would provide information about cancer like what are the symptoms to watch out for, how to conduct self examination, and following healthy diet and lifestyle that would hinder cancer development.
The virtual counseling center in the cloud would succeed in showering hope, assurance and help to people who actually need it the most.
Now for the features of Microsoft office 365 that would help me in my dream business. 

First, I would like to mention that the office can be opened on Linux and Mac computers, so I can heave a sigh of relief.  I am dependent on Microsoft office even for my blogging. Having such an office in cloud, where all the data can be accessed from anywhere would mean a lot for any online business.
We all had heard about sync, but the new advantage here is Lync, a feature that will allow us to save our contacts in office 365, allows video calling, saves images and can have meetings and conferences online. There can be presentations organized online as well.
Microsoft Office 365 is a great blessing for bloggers who can schedule their posts directly from office 365. No more copy pasting their articles to their blogs.
The work done offline by individuals can be synced online, thus making it available for everyone. People working together can edit the documents at the same time from different places. Above all it with the drag and drop feature to build a website, it is going to be a piece of cake to create the virtual counseling center.
It will also connect the center to social media sites, where it can spread awareness and information easily, and that too with just a click of the button.
And finally we have the security for the office so that our privacy will not be lost. Also it will protect us from spammers who would use this as an advertisement platform. So the dream of having an online counseling center for cancer survivors is almost a reality now.

This post is a part of contest organized by Office 365 on Indiblogger


  1. All the very best to you for this challenge.

  2. Very modest thought... all the best!!

  3. Good luck with that amazing venture.. it would sure help many people

  4. that would help many emotionally


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