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TBI Blogs: This Cancer Survivor Is Helping Dispel Stigma and Myths About the Deadly Disease

Despite affecting large numbers of Indians, cancer is still often misunderstood in many parts of the country. Sarika Rana, a cancer survivor herself, is helping dispel the myths and stigma around cancer through her support group, Anandi Sheroes.

Sarika Rana was born and brought up in a small town of Uttarakhand. She spent her childhood among the natural beauty of mountains, floating clouds, and the songs of rivers moving by. Like many other girls, she grew up to be her ‘daddy’s li’l girl’ – pampered and cheerful.

Her parents’ demise took an emotional toll on Sarika. Being a great follower of Steve Jobs, she always believed, “You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Gathering herself, Sarika continued her higher education in Biotechnology and eventually took up a position in research in Delhi.

She had just returned to a normal life when one day in 2013, Sarika felt a small soft mass growing inside her. Fearing the worst, she bravely decided to visit a cancer specialist.

Unfortunately, the doctor confirmed her fears and diagnosed her with cancer.

This was a completely new challenge for Sarika. She considered herself blessed to have discovered the cancer at an early stage. Her treatment lasted six months. She describes this phase as, “…a really tough journey. I wouldn’t say it was easy and that I was courageous throughout. I felt pain, had bouts of crying fits, and lost all my confidence.”

While fighting the dreaded cancer, Sarika faced the full breadth of the societal stigma and myths associated with it. She understood that the country needs more health education and survivor support. This gave birth to ‘Anandi Sheroes’, a cancer patient support group started by Sarika along with a few other cancer patients and researchers.

Anandi Sheroes facilitates cancer support by allowing patients to share experiences through specially designed programmes Sparsh, Nari, Nayi Shuruwat, and Shakti. It also spreads awareness about several important issues like prevention, supportive care, and palliative care which we need to address and advocate for better cancer care in India.

Sarika quotes Steve Jobs again, “No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. Yet, death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it, and that is how it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It’s life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.” YourDOST salutes this brave woman’s bravery, determination, and inspiration.

YourDOST celebrates the indomitable spirit of the #WomenOf2017. Read more amazing stories of courageous women here. If you or someone you know has a story, share it with us!

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Written by YourDOST

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YourDOST India's first and largest online platform for emotional and mental well-being