IACCGH connecting MDACC with CNN: The Story behind CNNï¿½s documentary on ï¿½
Taming the Beast: Inside the War on Cancer
CNNï¿½s Sanjay Gupta Furthers the Cause of MD Andersonï¿½s Cancer Fight by Getting the Word Out to the Rest of the World
Ashoke Nath of IACCGH and Sen Pathak of MDACC
August 10, 2005
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNNï¿½s medical correspondent, never has a regular routine day like most other people performing an eight to five work schedule. In his world this young and dynamic neurosurgeon-turned-reporter may suddenly be called upon to perform a delicate and complex operation such as taking out the bomb shrapnel from an innocent Iraqi kidï¿½s head in a make-shift operating tent while covering the war in Iraq. This came about during the first days of the Allied invasion of Iraq two years ago when there was no neurosurgeon with the US First Infantry.
The morning on January 15 of 2004, however, he thought life was going to be an easy mundane one. All he had to do was fly to Houston, give a rousing speech to a gathering of the Asian Studentsï¿½ Association and fly back to Atlanta ï¿½ that is, until he met the representatives of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston, their three Presidents: Durga D. Agrawal, Ashoke Nath, and Deepa Thakur, and the Executive Director Jagdip Ahluwalia.
These individualsï¿½ almost obsessed and rapid fire minds and the always-willing-to-lend-a-hand attitude saw an opportunity of meaningful benefits in convincing Sanjay to meet Dr. John Mendelsohn, the President of MD Anderson and his dedicated team. They also glowingly informed Gupta about MD Andersonï¿½s several recent Sister Hospital Agreements with Indiaï¿½s premier cancer treatment organizations, the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai and AIIMS in New Delhi. Their unmitigated enthusiasm was infectious and Dr. Gupta agreed to stay behind rather than head to the airport and home in Atlanta. Without much ado they set up the meeting between Sanjay, themselves and Dr. Mendelsohn, who interrupted his previously set busy plans, then whisked this CNNï¿½s wonder-boy and drove towards the Houston Medical Center. In fellow-passenger style conversations, they suggested why not do a medical reporting about MD Andersonï¿½s motto of Eradicating Cancer.
Visionary Mendelsohnï¿½s charisma, warmth and message of MD Andersonï¿½s life-saving, innovative research and treatments, positively affecting thousands of cancer victims and cancer survivors were enough to convince Dr. Sanjay Gupta that there was a great news story in this Number One cancer institute in the country. He toured the hospital with his hosts, saw, learned and agreed to do a special hour-long CNN medical report. This would start a co-journey with the several cancer patientsï¿½ first hopeful introduction to the organization and the research oriented individual diagnosis, then follow the many months of long crucial treatments and all the way to the end of the road, whether bright or dark.
The Iraq war coverage interrupted the planned scheduled shooting of this fabulous documentary film. Saddam lost, Saddam fled and was found, Saddam now sits in jail awaiting justice. More than twelve thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians and terror-seeking insurgents have perished in the last two years. Almost two thousand young American soldiers have sacrificed their lives of unfulfilled dreams for their country, believing they were there to bring justice, democracy and freedom from oppression to the many who seldom dared to dream the possibility of such an environment in their lifetime. CNN aptly brought these to the attention of everyone.
The unfortunate war still goes on in the dust-filled, oil-rich but deprived and strife-ridden Middle East country, once called the cradle of civilization. However, Sanjay kept his word. Dr. Gupta and a number of CNN camera crews came to MD Anderson over a period of eight months and followed five of the cancer patients/survivors as they went through treatment and reflected on their survivorship; Dr. Martin Raber is one of the five patients profiled. He was once the chief of physicians and a high-profile administrator at MD Anderson. Raber became a patient at his own hospital when a rare cancer formed a tumor in his liver. After his successful treatment Dr. Raber is back at his practice and is helping other patients with his personal story that Cancer can be beaten back. The show was shot exclusively at MD Anderson and is an insightful look at the cancer journey as well as new treatments and research. This has been aptly titled as “Taming the Beast: Inside the War on Cancer” and will be broadcast all around the globe. The airing schedule is given below.
Hundreds of millions around the world will watch this CNN documentary and marvel at the indomitable human spirit of survival. They will witness the many innovative methods of the oncologists and researchers used to beat and conquer this age-old scourge, brought on by so many varied natural or unnatural causes and acts. The message of hope and efforts of the valiant forces in our home-town of Houston at MD Anderson will radiate in the heart of every viewer, since few lives are left untouched by this wicked and often fatal genetic mutation.
Big things can happen from small steps of dreamers, doers and the timely help of good Samaritans who were just happening to pass by at the right moment. The world will justly salute all those dedicated researchers, doctors and leaders of MD Anderson. Many will thank Dr. Sanjay Gupta and CNN for their wonderfully informative program. Hopefully, many will help with the much needed research funds and many will come to Houston for treatments and better futures. Meanwhile those intrepid IACCGH volunteers and other numerous individuals, with their irrevocable and unbridled enthusiasm to help in this fight for eradicating cancer, will feel gratified and greatly rewarded to see another success for someone in need at Houstonï¿½s MD Anderson Cancer Center. They will have served.
Ashoke Nath of IACCGH and Sen Pathak of MDACC
ï¿½Taming the Beast: Inside the War on Cancerï¿½
Sunday, Aug. 14
8 p.m. and 11 p.m. (ET)
The program will re-air on Saturday, Aug. 20, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. (ET)
Here are the times for international airings:
Saturday, Aug. 13
6 a.m. Eastern — Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, South Asia
5 p.m. Eastern — Europe, Latin America
Sunday, Aug. 14
12 a.m. Eastern — Asia, South Asia
6 a.m. Eastern — Asia, South America, North America
8 a.m. Eastern — Europe, Latin America, North America
1 p.m. Eastern — Europe, Latin America, North America
7 p.m. Eastern — Latin America
Please tune into CNN August 14th at 6am Eastern.
Please forward this mail to family/friends in India-the telecast is global.
Dr Mendelsohn with CNN Dr Gupta
IACCGH Team with CNN Dr Gupta at MDACC