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Harmala Gupta

Harmala Gupta

Harmala Gupta
Founder President, CanSupport, New Delhi


In 1985, while working on her Ph.D. thesis Harmala Gupta was diagnosed with ‘Hodgkin’s lymphoma’, a cancer of the lymphatic system. After recovery, she felt it was her mission to create compassionate and caring support services for people with cancer and their families in India.

In 1996, this commitment led her to found CanSupport, a non-profit organization, dedicated to looking after people with advanced and terminal cancer. She pioneered a home based palliative care service to bring medical relief, nursing care and emotional support, free of charge, to the doorstep of less privileged cancer patients living in Delhi and the NCR.

Today, 19 trained teams of doctors, nurses and counselors look after and regularly visit more than 1400 cancer patients at any one time in their homes. More than 1 lakh people have benefited from this unique and much needed service. Besides the home care service, CanSupport also runs out-patient clinics in East and South Delhi and a Day Care for children, teenagers and adult cancer patients in South Delhi, which is both recreational and therapeutic. All services are free of cost and aimed at the marginalized.

In recognition of her contributions, Harmala has received numerous distinctions and awards. These have ranged from the first distinguished alumna award of Lady Shri Ram College for Women to an award for “outstanding contribution to social service” instituted by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry. More recently, His Excellency, The Governor General of Canada, conferred Harmala with the Governor General’s medallion for her pioneering contributions to palliative care in India.

Besides being Founder-President of CanSupport, Harmala is also Founder-President of Cancer Care India (CACI), an umbrella organization of cancer support groups set up to advocate for the rights of people with cancer and to raise awareness about cancer in the country.

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