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April - May 2005


ROKO Appeal's Fundraising Dinner at House of Commons

by Indya Singh


In a recent speech the leader of the opposition, Michael Howard M.P. had commented on the positive impact Asians were making to the economy of Britain, through their hard work and efforts. He had then continued to add that this impact was not just limited to creating a buoyant economy, but it also extended to the social projects taken aboard by the community. This is made quite visible by the amount of charity work that is being done to both improve the quality of life for the disadvantaged, as well as generating funding for research and development of life threatening ailments.

To this end, the Charity ROKO Cancer headed by Mr A S Chawla held its fundraising dinner at the House of Commons on 5th March with the help of Lord Navnit Dholakia and Mr. Keith Vaz MP. It was an all-party support charity dinner. Among distinguished guests were Stephen Timms, Chief Secretay Treasury, Dominic Grieves, Shadow Attorney General, Bollywood stars Kiran Kher and Dilip Tahil, Karan Bilimolria of Cobra Beer, Jeremy Hughes, Chief Executive ‘Break through Cancer Charity, Captain Ashvani Kumar Sharma of Air India, Maria Fernandes, President Middlesex Law Society and Penny Spears, Patron Roko Cancer.

Mr. APS Chawla in his speech explained that the current project being undertaken was the creation of the first ever Mobile Breast Cancer Detection Unit which would travel to the less accessible villages in India and spread awareness among the masses about this ‘terrible disease’. Such a project “will bring the benefit of early detection of Breast Cancer, leading to a possible cure, achieved by modern medical advanced facilities”. In a disease like breast cancer, early detection is of vital importance. Mr. Chawla thanked the patron, Penny Spears, Principal Adviser, Mr. RS Baxi and the Charity’s Medical Adviser Dr MS Duggal

A documentary film entitled ‘Breaking the Silence – a step forward’ directed by Vinky Singh and produced by Cine India International of 3, Sidddhartha Enclave, New Delhi was shown during the dinner. Vinky Singh and Cine India International were so touched by the subject of the film that they offered to produce the film free of cost. The president Mr. Chawla, especially thanked Vinky and her team for their generous gesture of support.


The auction of various items and raffle draw brought more than £13000 to the Charity. One of the special items for auction was a photograph of the Palace of Westminster signed by the leaders of the three parties, Tony Blair, Michael Howard and Charles Kennedy. A short specimen of Indian culture, a bharat natyam dance piece was performed by Indrani Chowdhry after the dinner.

The Charity was started by Mr Chawla as a result of grief brought upon him and his young family at the sad loss of his first wife Mrs Manjit Kaur Chawla due to Breast Cancer.

The MKC Trust was set up 5 years ago, and The Roko Cancer Appeal was launched in July 2004, by the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in the House of Commons.

The aims and objectives of the Organisation are

- To raise awareness of Breast Cancer.
- Assist early detection by funding mobile units in poor rural areas of India.
- Assist Hospital treatment and care of Cancer patients
- Facilitate care of terminally ill patients.
- Support families of affected Patients

To date ROKO Cancer has funded a Treatment room in St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney, opened on 4th Nov 04 by Mrs Sandra Howard, wife of Michael Howard M.P

In India, it created a Bracky Therapy wing in Sri Guru Ram Das Rotary Cancer Hospital, Amritsar, and it aims to create mobile early detection units.

The MKC Trust Roko Cancer has amongst its Patrons both Mrs Sandra Howard, and Mrs Kennedy, and, several other notable members from Politics and Business have agreed to champion and spearhead this noble cause. It is hoped that with continued and increased public support, it will make valuable contribution to eliminating the threat of Cancer in our lives.

For those who wish to support or have further queries, contact or

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