Riding Against Cancer: A Survivor Tells His Story
World Cancer Day: A survivor rides his bike across 15 states to raise awareness about the disease
(On World Cancer Day, 2018, we invited our readers to share their stories of courage and survival. Harteij Bhartesh shares his story of hope with us)
I was in my last semester of BA LLB when I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. It was 2013 and I was battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a kind of cancer that starts in white blood cells that are part of body’s immune system.
In May 2014, I moved to Hyderabad from Bengaluru and underwent 12 sessions of chemotherapy over six months. By 2015, cancer was receding. I started yoga and working out at the gym to get my immunity back on track.
A year later, I was looking for a job. But recruiters rejected my application repeatedly after one look at my medical history. They felt I won’t be able to handle the work pressure.
Inspired by Terry Fox, a young man who ran across the United States with one leg and cancer, I decided to go on a solo ride across India to raise awareness about the disease. My campaign, ‘Ride of Hope’ kicked off on May 1st, 2016 from Raipur, Chattisgarh.
Within 5 months I had traveled around 20,000 kilometers, across 22 cities in 15 states, visiting cancer institutes, schools and offices. During these visits, I shared my experiences.
I now counsel cancer patients and have set up a group called ‘Riders of Hope.’ If anyone has a requirement for blood, we provide it to them for free. I actively run marathons for all kinds of awareness and volunteer at social events as well.
I would like to reach out to the health ministry for support and to take awareness about cancer to every nook and corner of the country.
(On World Cancer Day, 2018, share your stories of courage, of survival and fight back. Write to us at Fit@TheQuint.com)
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