PETALING JAYA: While they may have won the fight against cancer, many survivors still go through emotional and psychological pain.
Some need help to move on with their lives, having gone through hardships or financial difficulties due to loss of employment.
Through a social enterprise initiative called Cancerfly Networks, founder Dr Sri Ganesh Muthiah and his team were inspired to help give these survivors a “new lease on life”.
“We wanted to give cancer survivors a better quality of life by offering them jobs and business opportunities.
“So, we developed a free online portal that helps connect employers with these survivors,” said Christopher Teoh Eu Jin, co-founder and chief information technology officer at Cancerfly Networks.
Another co-founder, Dr Diana Raj, recalled how they highlighted the case of N. Lavania, a 24-year-old aspiring photographer who is battling thyroid cancer, to Nikon.
Nikon then stepped in to fulfil her dream by sponsoring a D7200 DSLR camera.
“It’s one of the most rewarding moments when we get to actually help these patients achieve their goals.
“Sometimes, these survivors suffer depression, and by reaching out and connecting them with would-be employers, it gives them a sense of hope,” said Dr Diana.
Cancerfly Networks not only reaches out to cancer survivors but also extends help to their next of kin to kick-start businesses by advertising their products and services to various companies and organisations.
“When we find out that a patient’s spouse has not worked before but is able to bake or sew and start a small business, we will assist.
“We promote these businesses online or approach companies directly so that they can be financially independent,” said Teoh.
Dr Diana and Teoh spoke fondly of how they succeeded in developing a strong bond with the patients, survivors and their families.
“We have our own group chat and whenever one is struggling, they know that they can turn to all of us for support. We have become a very close-knit community,” said Dr Diana.
Now, Cancerfly Networks is looking to set up a foundation that would help them to reach a wider audience, as well as make it easier for companies to come forward to help.
“The toughest part about being a social enterprise is to convince people that what we are doing is free of charge and solely for the good of others.
“By setting up a foundation, it’ll be easier to get volunteers and talents such as those in the legal and financial fields,” added Dr Diana.
Cancerfly Networks also encourages employers to reach out to them by pledging positions for cancer survivors.
For their selfless efforts, Cancerfly Networks was judged one of the 10 Star Golden Hearts Award 2018 winners.