From Hendegarha to Hope: Lalki Devi's Fight Against Cancer

Hendegarha village in Jharkhand, India, seemed a world away from the challenges of modern healthcare. For Lalki Devi, a 50-year-old farmer and homemaker, life revolved around her family and tending to the land. But one day, a sharp pain in her chest shattered the routine, revealing a hidden threat – breast cancer. 

While a lump in her breast had raised concerns, Lalki, unaware of its significance, ignored it. However, a crucial turning point emerged in the form of her village community. Enrolled in a cancer-specific insurance plan through her Farmer Producer Company (FPC), she received unexpected support from Sameena Parveen, a dedicated volunteer. Recognizing the symptoms, Sameena urged Lalki to attend a screening camp, leading to a critical diagnosis. 

Diagnosed with breast cancer, Lalki’s initial chosen hospital, though closer, wasn’t covered by her insurance. Undeterred, she embarked on a demanding journey, undergoing surgery and chemotherapy in Jamshedpur. Throughout this ordeal, Lalki and her family found unwavering support from “kare mitras” from the Karkinos team, specialists who guided them through the process. 

Lalki’s story resonates with the power of collective action. The FPC’s role was crucial – not only did it offer insurance benefits, but it also provided constant encouragement and advocacy. CInI, working alongside Karkinos, ensured Lalki and her family understood the treatment process, mitigating the fear and uncertainty often associated with cancer. 

Today, Lalki stands as a testament to resilience and the power of early detection. Cancer-free, she has become a symbol of hope in her village, actively advocating for screenings and sharing her story to empower others. 

Lalki Devi’s journey is a call to action. It highlights the critical need to bridge the gap in healthcare accessibility for remote communities like Hendegarha. Making essential healthcare services and insurance readily available, coupled with strong community support systems, can be life-changing. As CInI’s program manager aptly concludes, “Through her resilience and advocacy, Lalki inspires us all to strive for a better, more compassionate world.”