After being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, 23-year-old Tanisa Dhingra spent all her time spreading awareness about the illness.
When she lost her battle with cancer, her cause lived on through her mother Meenakshi.
Meenakshi recalls that Tanisa was always a healthy child and had never fallen ill in 23
“Even the doctors we consulted mentioned that ovarian cancer usually does not affect such young girls. None of the doctors had an answer to why Tanisa had ovarian cancer,” she recalls.
While the family worried about her, Tanisa always reassured them that treatment would make her better. “She was such a brave girl,” adds Meenakshi.
The family took Tanisa to the US for her treatment in 2016 where she was put under four rounds of chemotherapy.
When Tanisa returned healthier and fit from the US, the family could see a huge difference in the level of care she had received in India during her routine visits.
The mother-daughter decided to provide the emotional support that Indian hospitals lacked. They started doing events for patients and caregivers.
“This movement slowly grew and Tanisa started organising stand-up comedy shows, laughter clubs, make-up artists, photoshoots, and a drive to donate hair,” informs Meenakshi.
In 2020, Tanisa’s cancer relapsed and she could not fight it this time. “The loss is something that I just cannot describe. We were away from family. It pushed me into a very dark hole,” says Meenakshi.
It took Meenakshi three months to pull herself together. She decided not to let her daughter’s work go to waste.
So far, more than 2,500 people have benefitted from their ‘break-free cancer day’, hair donation camps, early screening programmes and programmes focused on good nutrition during recovery.
“This is my way of carrying Tanisa’s name forward. Death cannot be the end of her story,” says Meenakshi.