Cancer warriors: Woman turns entrepreneur, motivational speaker, cop fights alone, wins and helps needy now
Anchal Sharma’s life turned upside down when she was diagnosed with cancer. But she fought bravely, won over it and now helps the needy
"It was January 15, 2017, I felt a kind of lump. I went for mammography that confirmed breast cancer on my right side. I was shell-shocked and badly shaken. They believed that I would not survive but I actually lived more meaningfully after that."
Says Anchal Sharma who did not panic nor did she tell anyone in the family after she had been diagnosed; her brother was to get married a few days later. She immediately needed money for surgery, had no option but to turn to her friends whom she once spent a good deal of time partying hard with. They all vanished into thin air. Finding all doors shut upon her, she resorted to selling off gold and other things to get the surgery done. She had herself admitted to Max Saket where Dr Harit Chaturvedi operated upon her at the third stage.
Cancer is so unpredictable a disease that arrests one unannounced at any point in life. Over the past few years, the deadly Cancer once considered a rare thing has now become common. Breast cancer in women and prostate in men have been on the rise. A study says that lifestyle is the chief culprit; late night clubbing upsets metabolic clock, eating habits and skipping a meal also lead to complications resulting in such disease.
“What kills me deep inside is the outlook of society sympathizing with me. They just look at me diabolically and some call it a curse plaguing me for the misdeeds of the previous birth. The society needs to change towards the disease.” Anchal who underwent 6 chemotherapy treatment and 30 radiation rounds spoke movingly.
The 36 year old is full of energy, a real warrior who took it as a challenge, went the extra mile and carved a niche for herself. MOH (Meals of Happiness) was established in June 2017, the NGO has been working across India for the downtrodden and deprived living in slum clusters. Her group has been working for years in the areas like Bengali Basti, Chhatarpur, Rajpur AIIMS etc in Delhi
'It's been more than three years since we started working for slum dwellers, MOH provides kids with food and education, it is thinking towards skilling them so that they could earn a livelihood for themselves', Anchal elaborated on various aspects. Feeding 500 odd mouths in slums everyday is what gives utmost satisfaction to this brave heart.
Anchal an early riser practices nirvana as she begins her day at dawn, goes walking, and does yoga and meditation religiously. She has cut down on binging and gorging on roadside eats, prefers homemade meals to tin or preserved food. An intake of 6 to 8 small meals a day keeps her nourished and healthy. 'I come from a family where I suffered in silence, I was physically assaulted. My own people abused me. It was humiliating and a cathartic experience. Dr Charu Garg inspired me a lot. She taught me the way to lead a life after several setbacks I suffered.'
Anchal is also a motivational speaker who wants the cancer patients to fight back which is possible through a positive mindset and strong will power.
Anchal who has felt extremes of pain in her journey towards healing, speaks candidly about her career in the industry of real estate; finds a plethora of challenges working in the industry but manages the show demarcating and maintaining the fine line of control with finesse. She believes strongly that the government of India should consider funding NGOs working towards rehabilitating the cancer survivors.
CanHeal is the brainchild of Anchal that provides kits which contain eye mask, face mask, lip balm and hand sanitizer for cancer patients.
Talking of MOH she explains how the team of the organization went about distributing ration packets at the time when a mass exodus of laborers was dislodged after the novel corona virus hit the world badly. She specifically talked how the Delhi Police helped them execute their work during those trying times. During lockdown, with the help of Aggarwal Sweets, they distributed hundreds kilos of sweets and other eatables to those thrown onto the streets without food and shelter.
MOH working for natural disasters that included Odisha and Bihar floods, has also funded a couple of surgeries for cancer patients and has helped one man get a prosthetic leg lately.
She is a little stoical about her emotions however, she talks about certain aspects overtly and takes me through the whole teary episode when her besties gave her the cold shoulder and turned hostile overnight after learning about her disease.
Anchal who broke away from the group that sipped star bucks, toured together and gossiped infinitely once, moved on with a new beginning. She strives to reach out to those in dire straits; works with abiding dedication. Recently, she and her team went and distributed ration kits to those affected in the fire that broke out in the Noor Nagar area.
The past however never dies. One has to learn to live with it. She lost her long locks in clumps post chemo sessions, she recalls; but that did not embarrass her at all, instead she sports a chic hairdo now. She is happy being occupied with slum kids when the past haunts. Though it's awfully difficult to survive without a man by your side as the society has certain unnamed prejudices; she plans to tie the nuptial knot anytime soon.
Anand Mishra, a senior cop attached to Delhi Police as DCP is yet another example who sailed a long way through uncharted waters. He cornered and overpowered the disease like no other. Last year, he was diagnosed with throat cancer but he stayed firm on his duty when the pandemic was hitting all indiscriminately. Mishra facing challenges when the conditions were utterly appalling, got himself admitted to hospital and underwent surgery.
The cop was battling the blues of the disease and the corona was all set to misbehave aggressively at the same time, he was all alone. His wife who is also a senior police officer was posted in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura where she was holding her base. Mishra had to battle many pitch-black nights, many a time sleepless ones treading on the roller coaster of emotions. He came out a warrior trouncing cancer, a new bright dawn. He has been helping many with food and medicines since then.
It's high time we as a society woke up and discarded the taboo and helped patients fight out rather than take him as an untouchable. After all, cancer or no cancer, a patient needs your support not sympathy.