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Storybooks to colourful toys: Kashmir hospital creates playroom for children battling cancer

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KM/Special Arrangement


Srinagar: For a change, smiles have returned to the faces of children battling cancer at Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) here.

SKIMS has set up a playroom for kids to make them feel happy amidst gloom and hopelessness. The playroom space is filled with colorful toys, building blocks, storybooks, sketchbooks, and games. It is aimed to help children deal with the physical pain and mental stress of the dreadful disease.

 
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KM/Special Arrangement

“Children have to put up with the pricks and pains associated with chemotherapy. Sometimes the treatment makes them so numb and cranky that they refuse to interact with doctors and even parents. This is a place where kids can play, explore and feel like normal healthy kids again. It encourages them to walk and play with toys, do coloring and read storybooks,” Dr. Faisal Guru, Pediatric Oncologist, SKIMS Soura, told the Kashmir Monitor.

The subtext of creating a playroom is to administer chemotherapy in such a manner that kids do not feel pangs of medication.

“Nurses administer chemotherapy in that room only where children are busy playing with the toys and don’t feel traumatized. Sometimes you just want them to have a safe space without giving them the feel of a dull hospital setting— and they feel free. That way, beating cancer becomes a more rewarding experience for them,” Dr. Faisal said.

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KM/Special Arrangement

The initiative was taken a few months ago in collaboration with Hasbro India and Nargis Dutt Foundation, which provided the toys for the playroom. Besides, it was done under the guidance of Director SKIMS, Dr. AG Ahanger, HOD Medical Oncology, Prof Gul Mohammad, Medical Superintendent SKIMS Dr. Farooq Jan, Engineering Department of SKIMS, Nikita Padora (one of the trustees of the Nargis Dutt foundation)

“It took us a month to do the flooring and décor. Because of the lockdown, it became a little challenging to get people who worked on it. The administration has been encouraging of this idea and extended their full support,” Dr. Faisal said.

He said their day is made when they see kids happily playing in the room. “For some time, they forget they are in a hospital and healing becomes a little easier,” Dr. Faisal said.