Cancer survivors celebrate ‘Life’ at biennial meet

The meet was organized by The Lymphoma Support Group India (LSGI) which was started in 2012 as a collaborative effort of patients and practicing hemato-oncologists

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New Delhi: The Lymphoma Support Group, India (LSGI) held its 4th biennial meet on 24th November in New Delhi. The event witnessed participation of over 350 cancer survivors who came together to celebrate life, a life after cancer.

From small children to senior citizens, from soldiers serving the nation to financial advisors, students and teachers, men and women cancer had impacted the lives of all and emerged as a unifier that motivated these survivors to come together and exchange notes, work towards creating greater awareness and giving hope to patients undergoing treatment.

The Chief Guest, Dr Sudeep Shreshtha, Medical Oncologist from Nepal is working at the grass root level for proving timely assistance as well as generating cancer awareness for early diagnosis.

Dr Anjan Shrestha, Haemato Oncologist from Nepal and Dr Sandeep Jasuja, Haemato Oncologist , S.M. hospital Jaipur were guests of honour.

The meet was organized by The Lymphoma Support Group India (LSGI) which was started in 2012 as a collaborative effort of patients and practicing Hemato-oncologist. The group is spearheaded by Shamim Khan. Shamim a caregiver and wife of a lymphoma cancer survivor has put in considerable effort and time to this cause and is supported by other survivours namely Mrs Davinder Madan, Dr Santosh, Mrs. Sunita, Mrs Sarika, Nishu Jain and Sunil Popli.

The group of consulting doctors include Dr Dinesh Bhurani, Director Haematology and Bone Marrow transplant and Dr Rayaz Ahmed, Senior Consultant Department of Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute. The other doctors from Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute Are Dr Narender Agarwal, Consultant Department of Haematology Dr Ullas Batra, Medical Oncologist, Dr Sumit Goyal, Medical Oncologist. These doctors provide the required medical know how and consultancy to the group to propel its activities forward. The working of the group consolidated further in the year 2016 and took the shape of a not for profit trust.

The event saw cancer survivors and their families put up a brilliant entertain programme complete with songs, instrumental and poetry recitals as well as a ramp walk where each survivor was dressed in ethnic dresses representing different Indian states and accompanied by doctors.

This biennial event is organized to recognize and honor everyone who is living with a history of cancer and works with a special focus on Lymphoma patients. The meet is an opportunity for cancer survivors to connect with other survivors, celebrate milestones, and recognize the healthcare providers, family, and friends who have supported them along the way.

The purpose of the meet for participants is to learn from shared experiences and reach out and support people who are currently undergoing treatment. For patients undergoing treatment the meet was a ray of hope, hope for survival and a platform for bonding with a shared pain, suffering, emotional and financial trauma for most. It is a day for cancer survivors to stand together and show the world that life after a cancer diagnosis can be meaningful, productive and inspiring.

The meet happens once every two years since its inception in 2012 and the group is open to all Lymphoma patients irrespective of the hospitals they are treated at. The forum is a platform where the patients and families get insights in handling sensitive issues like treatment questions and family stressors. This helps cancer patients to navigate their treatment and tries to ensures quality, affordable and coordinated care.

About Lymphoma Support Group India. (LSGI)

Cancer survivors often may face physical, emotional, social, and financial challenges as a result of their cancer diagnosis and treatment. Many are confronted with limited access to specialists, a lack of information about promising new treatments, inadequate or no insurance, difficulty finding employment, and psychosocial struggles. LSGI works to support such individuals by providing free guidance, education, and networking support to hundreds of individuals who have survived cancer or are currently suffering from the disease. The Foundation’s primary mission is to bring awareness to the issues of cancer survivorship in order to better the quality of life for cancer survivors.

LSGI Offerings:

· A platform for emotional comfort and support amongst fellow lymphoma patients through support group meetings

· A platform to communicate and interact with healthcare professionals

· A place to share practical advice and tips.

· A platform for seeking financial help for the really needy and families incapable of affording expensive cancer treatment.

LSGI Activities:

· The group actively takes on counselling activities and camps

· Free OPD’s and consultations not only in Delhi NCR but also does work in Punjab, Assam, Haryana and MP with plans for expansion in the future.

· Free investigations assistance where ever possible like pap smears, mammography, blood investigations and X-rays.

· The group acts as a facilitator for financial aid, connecting the patients to donors.

· Cancer awareness lectures and workshops in schools and colleges.

The beginning of LSGI – Shamim’s Story

A story of courage and strength, a story of struggle, strife and a fight for life. Fight for the life of her life partner.

The year 2003 saw Shamim tie the knot and step into married life with a thousand myriad dreams. She had completed her masters and had ambitions for clearing the Civil exams and give flight to her dreams. Her husband was her greatest supporter through her journey of preparing and coaching for the civil exams. As luck would have it she qualified her prelims and put her foot on the peddle to reach her final destination but destiny was writing another story. Three months into her married life her husband started keeping unwell and then began the long struggle for the right diagnosis and running from pillar to post, from one hospital to another to figure out what was the cause for the continuous loss of her husband’s health. She could not sit for her mains as she was too busy dealing with her husband’s failing health. And then came the most horrifying news of her life. Her husband was suffering from Lymphoma a form of Cancer. From the first chemo to the two relapses that she faced with her husband Shamim saw it all, the pain the suffering, the complications, the uncertainty of a stable future.

A moment that should have been her most joyous was one of the toughest for her, she gave birth to her daughter in one nursing home while her husband was getting his chemotherapy in another hospital.

Her husband and she have fought a long battle with cancer making her realise that there was an immense need for a support group which could counsel, hand hold, lend an ear, offer a shoulder to cry on giving birth to LSGI. The doctors in support were of course the ones who had been a part of her husband’s journey of recovery 3 times over.