The SDM Cancer Relief Fund Oct. 27 held its 33rd annual fundraising event at the Crustal Ballroom of the Golden Sails Hotel in Long Beach, Calif., and raised $70,000.

SDM chairperson Mathew Daniel welcomed the attendees to the annual banquet and introduced the president and the board of directors to them.

Abraham Mathew, president of the SDM Cancer Relief Fund, told the gathering of more than 300 people, that in 2018 the organization has so far helped over 200 poor patients and distributed over $40,000 to four hospitals: Kerala Trivandrum Regional Cancer Center in Trivandrum; Caritas Hospital in Kottayam; Amala Hospital in Trichur; and Calicut University Hospital in Kozhikode. He added that SDM also sponsored three beds in Amala Hospital and donated $1,000 to caritas for sponsoring more beds there.

Detailing the organization’s mission, Mathew told the guests that during 1985 when the organization launched, its mission was to help poor cancer patients in Kerala. But over the years, SDM has broadened its mission to extend financial help throughout India.

“SDM continues to expand as we examine additional opportunities where we may be of help,” the Indian American said.

Mathew informed the attendees that as the organization grows, so do its expenses but that hasn’t deterred it from doing its job.

“Only a few years ago, our total expense for holding a dinner for 250 cost less than $2,500. It was so because everyone, including our vendors, contributed to the cause. That is to be expected, but we continue to steadily focus on our mission – that is to help as many deserving individuals as we can and concurrently keep expenses to an absolute minimum,” he noted, adding that since the organization is run solely by volunteers, the only expenses are those related to the banquet.

Welcoming the new board member, Dr. Jooby Babu, Mathew later thanked that volunteer group which comprises of Sajini George, Jai Johnson, Jay Nair, Sunil Daniel, Joseph Ouso, Ivy Thomas Mathews, Priya Wiley, Vinodh Bahuleyan, Ravi Raghavan, Ravi Vellatheri, Sony Thomas and Sreedevi Warrier.

Mathew went on to add that SDM continues to partner with Harbor UCLA Medical Center, helping provide financial support to the children’s cancer ward. “We also provided direct financial support to 40 patients each at the Amala and Caritas Hospitals and 50 patients each at Caritas and RCC Hospitals,” he said.

In addition, he said, the organization released $50,000 from their endowment fund to help cancer patients affected by the unprecedented floods in Kerala.

He also informed the guests that an anonymous donor who had contributed $10,000 in 2017, has stepped forward to donate $25,000 this year.

“This is how we grow and strive. It is through word of mouth and through your well wishes and generous contributions. Your continued support makes it possible for us to help these deserving cancer patients and I thank each of you for your help,” he remarked.

The entertainment for the evening was provided by the dance group, Joya Kazi Unlimited. Kazi, award-winning dancer and choreographer, has worked with celebrity choreographers such as Shiamak Davar and Terrence Lewis while training under the classical world’s most prestigious artists like Guru Kelucharan Mohapatra, Pandit Birju Maharaj, and Guru Bandana Sen.

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