Celebrities who survived Cancer

Celebrities who survived Cancer

17 Jun 2019

Celebrities who survived Cancer

With the explosion of social media, we are so much more involved with the lives of celebrities today than we were a decade or two back. As we look at their designer lives, we often wonder whether they would have the same problems and sufferings that the common man goes through day in and day out. The harsh reality is that we get to see only the perfectly created images of the celebrities we adore. We are rarely privy to the insecurities and the pain that celebrities also have in their supposedly perfect lives.

Cancer is a disease that is becoming more and more common in every country of the world, and India is no different. It is not difficult to find households where one or more members has been afflicted by this dreaded disease. Just like the other problems we all suffer from, Indian celebrities are also not free from the scourge of this disease. But they are heroes in our eyes for a reason. The mental strength and physical resilience which helped them reach the pinnacle of greatness in their chosen career is also on display when they are struck by the dreaded C-word. Of course, they do have greater resources to help in their battle, but to be in the public eye while the battle against cancer is fought requires a lot of character. This blog brings you the stories of three Indian celebrities who have fought cancer with courage and grace, and survived to tell the tale.

Lisa Ray is an Indian-Canadian actress, model and television host who began her career in the Indian film industry with a 1994 Tamil film. She continued doing films and was also a much sought after model in India. Globally, she first shot to prominence as a 32-year old actress in the Canadian film Water, which earned rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival. When she was 37, it seemed the best of Lisa Ray was yet to come, and nothing could go wrong with her life. That was soon to change, however. She was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which is a variant of blood cancer. This was a cruel shock to Lisa, her family, and the legions of her fans in India and around the world. It didn’t deter her, though, and she initiated treatment immediately. She also did a lot of research on her condition. Luckily for her, the strain of cancer that she was suffering from had been researched and documented well, which aided more effective treatment. After a year of medical attention, she was put on a regime of lifelong medication but otherwise declared cancer-free. The spunky girl had bounced back, and within two years, she got married and seemed to be getting her life back on track. Sadly, the cancer relapsed, and she had to go back under a stronger prescription of medication. Today, she doesn’t call herself cancer-free anymore, and has resigned herself to taking medication all her life. But Lisa 2.0 is a stronger version of herself, and she spends her time helping other patients cope with their fears with her story of courage.

Sonali Bendre is another superstar from the Indian film industry who contracted the dreaded disease of cancer. She began her career as a model, but soon began to get offers for acting in movies. Apart from a long list of acclaimed roles in Hindi movies, Sonali has also appeared in Telegu, Tamil, Kannada, and Marathi films. She has also won a Filmfare Award and Star Screen Award for being a promising newcomer to the industry. Additionally, she has also won accolades for her work in television reality shows and contests, and as host for award shows. After a hiatus of a few years, she made a comeback to the Hindi film industry in 2012. Considering that she has been a style icon for many years, and has also published a book a parenting, one could easily say that she had a fulfilling career and could hang up her boots with a sense of accomplishment. In 2018, though, she announced that she had been diagnosed with cancer. Being a role model for so many young girls for years, she decided to put her shock and tears behind her, and launched the #OneDayAtATime and the #SwitchOnTheSunshine movements on social media. While she battles with surgery and chemotherapy treatments, and has lost her beautiful hair, she refuses to wallow in self-pity and the obvious question of ‘Why me?’. She is yet another Indian celebrity cancer survivor whose life is an inspiration.

Yuvraj Singh is a sportsman who has represented India with great distinction in the game of cricket for years, till he retired in 2019. His story is one of heroic sporting achievements, no doubt. But those stellar successes have been overshadowed by an even more valiant battle he has fought against cancer. He began to make his mark in the international cricket arena in 2000, and for the next decade he became an integral part of the limited overs setup of the Indian cricket team. The pinnacle of his cricketing story came in 2011, when he played a major part in helping India become the World Champion of cricket, and bagged the Man of the Series award for good measure. Like the other two celebrities we spoke about before this, that seemed to be the time when he seemed to be at the peak of his prowess, and then disaster struck. Yuvraj was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour in his left lung, the technical name for which was Seminoma Lung Cancer. For more than a year, he underwent painful chemotherapy at Boston and Indianapolis, and was discharged in 2012. He continued playing after that and also set up a non-profit to help cancer affected children from less privileged background, while also providing mental counselling to battle the disease. With his retirement in 2019, Yuvraj is expected to spend more time on this activity now, and become another role model just like he was in his playing days.

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