“You HAVE TO win this battle”: Cricketer and cancer survivor Yuvraj Singh’s heartfelt message to cancer patients on World Cancer Day
On the occasion of World Cancer Day 2022, international cricketing icon and cancer survivor Yuvraj Singh urged cancer patients not to give up and to stay motivated. He said, “Having experienced cancer myself, I know
On the occasion of World Cancer Day 2022, international cricketing icon and cancer survivor Yuvraj Singh urged cancer patients not to give up and to stay motivated. He said, “Having experienced cancer myself, I know how painful this journey is. No matter how difficult it gets, don’t give up. I kept myself motivated all through fighting this deadly disease. Look forward to the beautiful life that is waiting for you on the other side, so you HAVE TO win this battle.”
Yuvraj Singh, who was the Player of the Tournament for the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, was diagnosed with Seminoma Lung Cancer shortly after he led India to a historic win in the series. After undergoing three intensive chemotherapy sessions in the US, he returned to India and once again donned the Indian jersey before retiring from international cricket in 2017.
Recalling the day when she got to know about her son’s illness, Yuvraj’s mother Mrs Shabnam Singh said, “I was on my way to the Gurudwara to pray for my son before getting his biopsy report when I got a call confirming that it was cancer. I went to the Gurudwara almost in a trance and sat there in a numb state for a long time. It gradually sunk in but it took a long time for me to come to terms with the fact.”
Regarding the tough time they had during the treatment process, she said, “The doctor told us that the treatment was going to be very difficult but that Yuvraj would be cured and that he would be able to start playing again after six weeks of therapy. It was wonderful to hear the doctor say that and I clung onto that piece of news. We had also read Lance Armstrong’s book where he had mentioned that the treatment was very harsh, it would make you miserable and you would start crying for no reason. So, when I saw Yuvraj crying, I would only think that the medicine was working rather than thinking why my son was crying.”
Expressing his admiration for his mother and for all the caregivers of cancer patients, Yuvraj said, “Whenever my pain became unbearable during the treatment, my mother was there as a pillar of strength. Not for a moment did she give up hope for my complete recovery and that gave me the willpower to fight cancer. So, I strongly believe that caregivers are a strong source of support during the treatment process. I salute them for their unbelievable strength and perseverance during their loved one’s long and tedious journey towards recovery.”
Mrs Shabnam Singh added, “If the caregiver gets emotional and starts crying in front of the patient, then the patient also gets weak. I would panic sometimes, especially once when he fainted in my arms, but I never cried in front of him. In fact, whenever he cried, I just held him and said you are going to be fine. If I had also gone weak, how could I have given the strength to my son to fight the disease? To give strength to the cancer patient and to motivate them is the role of the caregiver. Halfway through his treatment, Yuvraj knew that he could either cry about it or be strong about it. He decided to be strong and that’s how he came out of it.”
After winning their personal fight against cancer, Yuvraj Singh and his mother founded the YouWeCan Foundation in 2012 as a non-profit organization that works to empower all people to fight cancer through Cancer Screening Programmes, Cancer Awareness Programmes, YouWeCan Cancer Treatment Fund and YWC Scholarship for Cancer Survivors. Till date, 1,50,000 people have been screened by the Foundation for different types of cancer, 1,25,000 students have been sensitized in anti-tobacco workshops, 30,000 women have been sensitized on self breast examination and 24,000 men have been counselled for tobacco cessation. Moreover, 150 cancer survivor students have been supported through the YouWeCan Scholarship.
In October 2021, YouWeCan Foundation launched the ‘Swasth Mahila, Swasth Goa’ initiative in partnership with the SBI Foundation and the Government of Goa. Under this initiative, free breast cancer screening will be done for 1 lakh women in Goa, thereby ensuring that 50% of the age eligible female population in the state is screened.
Regarding the work being done by his Foundation, Mr Yuvraj Singh said, “We started the YouWeCan Foundation with the aim of eradicating the stigma around cancer, creating awareness about the need for early detection as well as supporting underprivileged cancer patients during and after their treatment. Today, on World Cancer Day, I once again take the pledge to do my best to support patients from low-income households in their fight against cancer through the various programmes of our Foundation.”
On World Cancer Day 2022, YouWeCan Foundation and Police Families Welfare Society (PFWS) held an awareness session ‘Let’s Talk Cancer’ on the importance of early and timely detection to fight cancer, busting the myths surrounding cancer and suggesting the lifestyle and habits related to cancer. The session aimed to strike conversation around cancer to empower people to defeat this disease. The virtual event was hosted by YouWeCan Foundation’s Mentor and Founding Member Mrs. Poonam Nanda and around 800 people attended the session. Dr. Anshuman Kumar (Director and Chief Surgeon, Dharamshila Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, Delhi) and cervical cancer survivor Mrs. Sangeeta Gupta were the panellists for the session. The session also included interaction with cancer survivors. A Facebook Live Quiz was also organized by YouWeCan Foundation on this occasion on cancer and holistic health with participation from five corporate teams: Eka Software, SignEasy, LifeSchool, Digital Emporiom, Aanya Wellness and Squareyards.