Simply Human: Offering kindness to cancer patients in multicultural communities

Simply Human: Offering kindness to cancer patients in multicultural communities

Humanitarian not-for-profit ‘Simply Human Inc. – Superheroes Without Capes’ supports cancer-sufferers from multicultural Australian communities. However, this positive and uplifting organisation came from tragic beginnings.

Following the death of her cousin to cancer in 2009, Indian-born founder Prerna Pahwa says she “became familiar with the feeling of helplessness.”

“Community work seemed to give me a sense of purpose [to] channel the restlessness my cousin’s death had caused,” Prerna admits.

Since her loss, Prerna has participated in several philanthropic causes. She has selflessly devoted herself to multicultural and community events, inspired by helping others.

In 2015, Prerna learnt about international student Ujwal Poudel, who was suffering from Leukaemia.

Ujwal’s struggle to find a bone marrow transplant deeply moved Prerna, and she realised that it was her passion and mission to help others like him.

As a result, Prerna, along with friends, Bipin Karki and Avinash Shrestha, worked to raise money for Ujwal and his treatment.

The three raised a mammoth $88,000 through crowdfunding and events. Ujwal is now cancer-free and is a living inspiration for both the organisation and all cancer fighters.

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Prerna notes that for cancer sufferers like Ujwal, race and ethnicity are essential factors in finding donor matches.

“Very few people registered in Australian Bone Marrow Donor Registry are from these (South Asian and South East Asian) ethnic groups,” Prerna says.

“And when a Leukaemia case is found, people from these communities’ struggle to find the right match. Most either go overseas or pay huge amounts to access a different Bone Marrow Registry.

“Therefore, our drive is to educate people on making well-informed decisions in becoming a donor and creating a huge pool of volunteers who are willing to give their bit towards humanity.”

The success with Ujwal inspired ‘Simply Human Inc.’ to continue their work. Since then they have participated in several campaigns and conducted workshops to help cancer fighters around Australia.

They have worked with organisations including World’s Greatest Shave, Red Cross Australia and the Leukaemia Foundation Queensland. They work to fight cancer and support those affected by it.

Along with NRNA Australia ‘Simply Human Inc.’ have raised:

  • $10,000 for Anmol, a 3-year-old fighting Lymphoma cancer (pictured below), and her family
  • $118,000 for Arjun Timilsina, a Nepalese national, to urgently receive a bone marrow transplant
  • $80,000 for Bishal Poudel, another Nepalese national, to safely receive bile duct cancer treatment

Prerna has received a number of accolades in celebration of her success with ‘Simply Human Inc.’ and her other endless charity work.

In January 2020 she was recognised by the Local Legends Award and in 2019 was the first Indian Australian to receive the prestigious Lord Mayors Australia Day ‘Achievement’ Award.

Along with her charity work and contributions to ‘Simply Human Inc.’, Prerna works in the IT industry as a public servant for the Queensland Government.

She also began an all women-led, eco-friendly Indian restaurant in Brisbane called ‘Poppin Papadums’, with the aim of empowering women.

“It’s my passion to help others,” Prerna says, “I would like to lead a life full of compassion and leave a legacy behind.”

It was only after reading ‘Aspire’ by Kevin Hall and confirming with the dictionary, did I realise that “passion” originally meant: A willingness to suffer for what you love.

“I would say that [passion] is an activity, goal or cause that I care about so much that I am willing to suffer for it.”

‘Simply Human Inc.’ led enthusiastically by Prerna, works to bring diverse Australians together under a shared humanity.

“We have been organising Donor Drives and Awareness workshops since 2016 and my aim is to get at least 1500 donors registered by the end of year 2022,” Prerna says.

“[So far] we have gotten 634 donors registered.”

Click HERE to find out more about Simply Human Inc. and Prerna Pahwa.


Kellie Maloney

Kellie is studying a Bachelor of Communications and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at UTS. She has a passion for travelling and experiencing other cultures through music, film, art and food. Got a story to tell? Get in touch: [email protected]