How it began at CPAA

Mr. Yogendra Kumar Sapru is the Founder Chairman & CEO of Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA). An experienced pharmaceutical professional, Mr. Sapru started his career with John Wyeth & Brother in 1963, where he progressed from the post of a Medical Representative to that of Marketing Director. Subsequently, he joined Johnson & Johnson in the pharmaceutical division for 10 years and the diagnostic division for 7 years. He retired as Executive Director in 1999. During the Johnson & Johnson stint he conceived of the idea that is CPAA today.

Way back in 1969, when he was visiting a friend at Tata Memorial Hospital, on the bed alongside was a little girl, Jaya Jhabbar, battling Leukemia. He reached out to this little girl’s family. On doing so, realized that mere dispensing of money, food and medicine is not enough as Cancer is a disease that has far reaching implications that go beyond surgical and medical procedures. With little means. Mr. Sapru, along with a few friends, stepped in and raised the money required for her treatment. Jaya Jhabbar was cured and CPAA was born.

“I founded CPAA 44 years ago, when I was still working with Johnson & Johnson. This is because I found Cancer patients across the globe weren’t able to afford medicines. I realised they were dying because of unaffordability of medicines, not unavailability of treatment,” he says.

In the initial days of CPAA, his wife, Rekha Sapru managed the daily running of CPAA due to Mr Sapru’s corporate responsibilities. She was a columnist with Dharamyug and Eve’s Weekly magazines. The organisation flourished under her tutelage.

Another Founding member is Mrs. Jasdanwalla, who used to work with Mr. Sapru at John Wyeth & Brother as the Family Planning Officer. When Mr. Sapru started CPAA, he felt that she would be a valuable asset and asked her to join as Honorary Secretary.

It is Mr. Sapru’s vision and farsightedness that has seen a germ of an idea mature into the well-respected association that CPAA is today. He himself It was coined the phrase “Total Management of Cancer”, the credo that has been the cornerstone of CPAA’s philosophy all these years.

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