Saturday, March 13, 2010

Party for a Purpose!

Party for a Purpose was a success at the 40/40 club! See some photos below for a sneak peek to the event. Funico Studios came out to support Cents of Relief and took some photographs as well which we will share once available. Thank you to everyone who came out to help Cents of Relief launch our new logo and support us. It was a great night with more details coming soon!

Miss NY, Davina Reeves and Marc Mcrae

CoR Burn Comic Illustrator, Zafreen Syed with Jesse Acosta and Michelle Zhao

Pete Fabricant, Anup Patel and Marc Mcrae

CoR Board Member, Christine Garg with Allison Basar

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Party for a Purpose: Creative Support!

We love our volunteers and supporters. Our wonderful supporter, Paulie Maggiore (, who will be at the Cents of Relief Party for a Purpose on March 11th, at 7 PM ( created this great video which he tweet to his fans! Take a look at his video below. Thank you, Paulie...the creativity gave us all a laugh and we are so excited to see you at Party for a Purpose!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Wonderful Video from our Friends at Destiny

We support and are partners with a wonderful organization, Destiny ( in Kolkata. We will be blogging more in April when we visit them with some Cents of Relief volunteers, but for now check out this wonderful video they have created.

International Women's Day

We are getting ready to celebrate International Women's Day and commemorate all of the strong victims of human trafficking out there! International Women’s day is coming up on March 8th and Cents of Relief wants to help honor the important women in your life we well! Leave a comment on our Facebook Fan Page about the struggle and achievements of a woman in your life. We will choose one of you to be the winner of the NEW Cents of Relief t-shirt which will be released on March 11th at Party for a Purpose!

Party for a Purpose

Cents of Relief is getting ready for Party for a Purpose on March 11th at 7:00 PM at the 40/40 club in NYC. This event is being hosted with the support of Philanthropic Events. Miss New York, Davina Reeves will be at Party for a Purpose as our guest along with Funico Studios who will be capturing the event for us. We hope to see a lot of our supporters out there who will get to see the first glimpse of our new website and blog design! To get more information on the event or purchase tickets go to Pass the word on and let’s get ready to party for a purpose!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Into the Deep End

For those of you who may be following, I apologize for the delay in writing. These last few days have been very busy to say the least.

I don't think that it is possible to become completely inured to the level of poverty here. India has made great strides in recent years, and, ostensibly, Mumbai is an already vibrant city now growing exponentially. Skyscrapers are being built everywhere you look. But, next to these skyscrapers are slums. Despite India's enormous economic development over the last few years, this hasn't changed. I'll have to describe these in detail in a later blog. Onto the burn mission for now:

Saturday was out screening day. We saw approximately 70 patients, which took up most of the day. Its hard to describe the morbidity of their contractures. The severity seen in India is so much more than I expected based on my experienced in Burn rotations in the US. The majority of the patients were women. Many of them had necks with necks fused to their shoulders. Wrists were fused to shoulders, ankles to thighs. I can't imagine how people get through their day. I wish I could post some pictures, because I don't think that words can do justice to their level of deformity.

Operations have just started. But, it's time to start another day, so I'll have to write more later...

Thanks for reading,

Friday, January 8, 2010

An Enviable Problem

Our team has landed in Mumbai just fine. I never sleep well on planes. I have tried numerous times, but I've always failed. At this point, I've given up. But, I've started to look forward to flights. It's perhaps the only moments where my time is entirely protected. There's nothing to do but sit. And, at least, it gives me moments to think.

I flipped through old New Yorker's on the flight (they've been collecting dust on my desk for so long- guilt goaded me to bring them along). I read through the article: "Testing, Testing" in the December 2009 issue. It discusses the necessity of overhauling the current American health care system and critiques the current proposal on not substantially changing the nationwide healthcare structure so that it curbs costs and raises quality. It really cannot be argued that "the [proposed healthcare] bill doesn't even meet the basic goal that the American people had in mind and thought this debate was about: to lower costs". This quote was said by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and noted in the "Testing, Testing" New Yorker article by author Dr. Gawande.

I won't deny that the U.S. healthcare system threatens this nation's financial solvency, nor do I argue that it is in major need of change to curbs costs. But at least there can be reasonable discussion over this. In contrast, India, as far as I understand it, has very little health care to even speak of. It would be a wonderful boon were India to be able to participate in the same discussions. India's health care system is instead much simpler; those who have money receive excellent care, and those who don't, don't.

Arivand Adiga's White Tiger was perhaps one of the novels that best described the struggles of India's abjectly poor class. In the novel, under the guise of government aid, hospitals would open to treat those who couldn't otherwise pay, but these were empty promises. Physicians didn't staff these buildings, as economically, it makes very little sense to treat India's truly poor. But these aren't just stories from novels. My cousins, who live in India still, have relayed many similar stories as well.

Even for my Aunt in India, medical care was hard to come by. She was middle class, but found medical care poor at best after being diagnoses with small cell lung cancer. Routinely, she would make a four hour trip on train to be treated, only to find that there was no chemotherapy still available. Without financial aid from others, even when treatment was available, it still would not have been available. My aunt passed away from complications of her cancer three years ago now. Although her passing from this aggressive malignancy was pre-ordained, there were many steps where the rudimentary medical structure in India failed her along the way. For what it must be like for the abject poor, I cannon even begin to imagine. I an only glimpse at it through aforementioned works of fiction. But I know that fiction is only an extension of actual medical problems.

So, while the U.S. focuses on cutting health care costs, I think that India would be so fortunate to have such a problem. So much is there to be done. Clean water, a trauma response system, and further outreach to the poor would just be a start. Regarding burns, simply the initiation of a central registry would dramatically improve the ability to identify at risk individuals and work on methods by which to educate these groups.

The flight's over, and it's time to get to work! As mentioned, there's much to do.

Patient screening starts today. Thank you very much for reading.