This story is sponsored by HCG
The 3rd Annual SelfV – Survivor Stories, initiated by the Pink Hope Cancer Support Group and supported by HCG, recently culminated in a grand finale. The Grand Ballroom of the Shangri-La hotel in Bengaluru reverberated with music, applause, and inspirational words as the winners of this year’s SelfV campaign talked about how they overcame cancer.
The evening got off to a rousing start with a performance by Sufi band led by Rashmi Agarwal. The music, featuring evergreen favourites like Mast Kalandar, brought the audience to their feet. Bengaluru-based Hindi rock band, The Girish Prabhu Collective, performed a selection of popular evergreen English and Hindi songs that had the crowd tapping their feet.
The emcee for the evening, Dr. G. Kilara from HCG, then announced the names of the winners of this year’s S SelfV – Survivor Stories campaign. As each winner came forward to claim his or her prize, it was evident that cancer does not discriminate based on age or gender, and that victory over cancer can also be achieved by anyone. Men and women, both young and old, inspired the gathering with messages about how cancer is not the end, and that a positive attitude is key to overcoming the disease.
The winners of this year’s SelfV – Survivor Stories converged from all over the country to tell their tales of triumph. They also had words of inspiration for those still undergoing treatment, and talked about the work they were doing in the community to raise cancer awareness.
Leukaemia survivor Rahul Pandey, who travelled all the way from Azamgarh to talk about the challenges of finding treatment in rural areas. He talked about the ills of tobacco use and said that cancer was not the end and could be overcome. His words were echoed by childhood bone cancer survivor Shweta Chawre, from Mumbai, said it was the love and support of her family and a positive attitude that helped her overcome cancer.
Also raising awareness against the ills of tobacco was Ahmedabad-based Shrenik Shah who despite having his voice box removed was actively campaigning against the use of tobacco-based products.
This year’s winner, 81-year-old breast cancer survivor PN Kamala said, “Awareness is the key and it is essential that more survivors speak about the disease, in order to instil confidence in those that are still battling with cancer today. It is important that they know that there is life after cancer and it can be treated and managed.”
Breast cancer survivors Uma Pai, Neelam Kumar, Anni Sharma, Gauri Singh, and Urvi Sabnis spoke about how important it was to live joyously and courageously and not be defeated by the stigma surrounding cancer. They spoke about how important it was to get regular checkups and for Indian women to not always be sacrificial and put themselves last. The message was clear: celebrate life and live it to the fullest.
The first prize, a Ducati Scrambler bike, was presented by Dr. BS. Ajaikumar, Chairman & CEO HCG; Members from VST Ducati; DOC Bengaluru reps; and Dinesh Madhavan, Director HCG. The second prize went to Ahmedabad-based breast cancer survivor Urvi Sabnis and the third prize went to Mumbai-based breast cancer survivor Gauri Singh. They won a Samsung LED TV and mixer, and an international holiday and DVD player, respectively.
The top 10 winners were selected from amongst 250 entries this year. Now in its third year, the SelfV campaign has given cancer survivors a platform to share their stories and inspire those who are still undergoing treatment. Dr. BS Ajaikumar and Dinesh Madhavan - Support Members - SelfV Survivor Stories said, “SelfV – Survivor Stories has had a tremendous response. We thank all the survivors who participated this year and all those who worked tirelessly to ensure the success with the SelfV, across the globe. We believe that the Self V programme has made a tremendous difference in creating awareness that the fear of cancer can be mitigated and the disease can be conquered with the right treatment."
Cancer survivor and member of Pink Hope Cancer Patient Support Group, Amar Bhaskar echoed this sentiment saying, “It’s a day of hope and triumph for cancer patients as SelfV Survivor Stories instils the spirit of the survivor in the millions of cancer patients who are battling cancer.”
It was also a day of immense pride for the families of the survivors, who had come to support and encourage them, as they were feted for overcoming one of the most challenging phases of their lives.
Here are the top 10 winners:
The partners who made the evening possible included Ducati, Samsung, Aster Holidays, Shangri-La Hotels Fervour, Deccan Group, YourStory, Grape 5, Niche Minds, JD Institute of Fashion, Namm Radio, AW Telecom, Edelmen, Smart Life, and Vijayawani.