Mario Pinto, founding member of 'Caring Hearts' cannot afford to let emotions take the better of him, as he moves from bed to bed of terminally-ill cancer patients.
As he holds close a sobbing Lincoln Fernandes, 18,lying in the throes of advanced cancer, he says:"Cry, if you want. I also cry; we all cry. But God is waiting with open arms to embrace you. He will take care of you and the family you are leaving behind."
AdvertisementLincoln lies breathless, his stomach has ballooned and his legs are severely swollen. Pinto has ensured that Lincoln's last journey was at least, peaceful.
Pinto is seen daily at Caring Hearts. He also works with the Palliative Care Centre at Tata Memorial Centre, giving out solace and support to the terminally ill.
Pinto cannot remember how many patients he has helped. Looking at his hands he says : "These may have cupped the faces of at least 3,000 dying patients."
There is no stopping Pinto's colleague Indu Chandra, when her friend's name is mentioned. "The patient's trauma leaves you exhausted, mentally and physically. I needed a break after a few years. But Pinto has been doing it incessantly for a decade."
Talking about the journey that brought him to this role as caregiver, Pinto says: "I always wanted to go beyond the ordinary."
That he did, with the help of wife Teresa and his two children.
Pinto's first job was at a five-star hotel. Yet he found his calling while working in his father's publishing house, which dealt with books on spiritual and psychological human development.
After interacting with social workers, counselors and people with a religious background, he started what he terms a "searching within". The turning point came when he attended a course organized by Shanti Avedna Sadan, India's first hospice. He was inspired to start Caring Hearts.
Yet, what powers him? Pinto says he can be a true caregiver because he loves human beings, the "best commodity God made".
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