This #WorldCancerDay I Was Part Of A Celebration Which Was Unique In Many Ways!

Posted: February 9, 2019
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I was part of a celebration by Yes to Life Foundation on World Cancer Day, 4th Feb 2019, and came away with many stories of strength that are inspiring.

Some experiences are for a lifetime. And the memories they create are so strong that you want their essence and that fragrance to stay with you forever.

This World Cancer Day on Feb 4th 2019, I was invited by Yes To Life Foundation to be a part of their collaborative effort of spreading awareness about Cancer and compère a unique fashion show at DLF CyberHub in Gurgaon. It wasn’t just about being a part of an evening which was marked by unparalleled energy and passion for a cause but also a beautiful opportunity to meet many brave women whose never say die attitude left me in awe. And the evening just turned out to be such a unique and memorable experience!

This World Cancer Day, Yes to Life in collaboration with Cyber Hub Gurgaon, Studio One and Looks Salon organised a very unique initiative. While some hundred students and volunteers from premier educational institutes like APJ School of Management, Lal Bahudar Shashtri Institute of Management Studies and Banarasi Das Chandiwala Institute of Professional Studies joined hands with several men and women visiting this prime social hub of Gurgaon to make a human chain, 10 beautiful Breast Cancer champions walked the ramp with grace and élan. Here is more about the event which is bound to leave you inspired –

It all starts with holding hands…

Sometimes it is as simple as holding hands to show that you support and care.

Around a hundred students and volunteers formed a human chain with each one holding a placard to spread awareness about cancer and break common myths about the disease.

“If only women paid as much attention to their breasts as men”,

“She is healthy today because she had early detection”,

“Wow, she indeed looks peaceful”

“Faith and positivity take you a long way” and so on.

The human chain which lasted for more than an hour saw curious onlookers and visitors also join in to do their bit to support the cause and spread joy.

And they wore the Fabric of Hope…

Aptly titled as Fabric of Hope, the fashion show was a colourful display of ensemble and manifestation of joy each survivor wished to spread around them.

Highlighting that hope is the positive energy which guides us to whatever we want and can have, 10 breast cancer champions walked the ramp with such poise and elan. Dressed in ivory colour which was used as the base fabric and signified the soul, these models wore dupattas which were a vivacious spread of colours and signified joy and hope at the end of the treatment.

My rendezvous with the Breast Cancer Champions and their journeys

Chetna, Pragya, Ritu, Sonu, Sumita, Kulpreet, Savneet, Nidhi, Reva and Madhu – I want to name all the champions here along with Neeti and Shruti, Founder and Vice President of Yes 2 life respectively, again breast cancer champions themselves who curated the event and brought things together. Getting to know the stories of these breast cancer champions was such a gratifying experience as was lending my voice to their journeys at the Fashion show.

It was indeed overwhelming to know how these champions who came from various walks of life, different financial backgrounds, and are at various stages in their life had defeated the disease with their sheer determination, positivity and conviction. When I asked them about life after the disease, all of them shared how the journey of defeating the disease had made them more confident, courageous, ambitious as well as grateful for small things in life and compassionate towards self.

While the battle with breast cancer has given many of them a new direction in life to be a part of various initiatives helping others going through the suffering. Others are back to their normal lives before treatment, but with more passion and determination to live life to the fullest. The thread of positivity shone so distinctively and brightly across all of them.

What I carried back with me

That it’s not worth it, simply not! To live in the past, hold grudges and prioritize anything above self, family and friends. What is important is living in the present.

As Satvinder, one of the champions shared how she is often reminded of one dialogue from the famous movie Queen when Kangana in the state of being drunk says, “Mera haal na Gupta uncle ke jaise ho gaya hai. Gupta uncle ko na cancer ho gaya tha. Unhone kabhi sharab nahi pi, cigarette nahi pi, phir bhi cancer ho gaya. Isse achcha toh pi hi lete.”  She continues with a smile, “I also never touched alcohol, always was a non-smoker, hardly had junk food in my plate, enjoy less oil, non-spicy food, lived a healthy life and completely believed in God. Still, I faced cancer in my life. If this can catch me, then this can happen to anyone..so stop thinking why me, just enjoy life to the fullest.”

Yes, stop thinking why me and live life to the fullest. Because whatever it is, is today and now…

Images source: Anjali G Sharma

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An engineer and a telecom business professional, Anjali Gurmukhani Sharma is a Delhi University rank

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