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Volunteers get their hair cut for donation at the hair donation event for World Cancer Day at the Consulate General of India in Dubai on 4th February, 2020. Image Credit: Photo Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: Half the time it is the fear that kills a person not the cancer itself, said Goolcher Navda, an Indian energy healing practitioner and cancer survivor.

She was among six female cancer survivors and another one, who is still battling the deadly disease, who shared their inspiring stories that helped them show to the world that there is still life after cancer at an event held to mark the World Cancer Day at the Indian Consulate in Dubai on Tuesday.

“I am here to inspire people not to fear it but to face it bravely,” said Goolcher who had braved the disease as a single mum who had lost her job.

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(From left) Nisrin Arsiwala, Goolcher Navdar, Bushra Zaidi, Premi Mathew, Vipul (Consul General of India in Dubai) Ingrid Valles, Disha Motiyani and Priyanka Gupta at the hair donation event for World Cancer Day at the Consulate General of India in Dubai on 4th February, 2020. Image Credit: Clint Egbert, Gulf News

One would think that the worst thing to happen to a passionate dancer is cancer causing her legs to limp. But Disha Motiyani has been fighting back against the disease even after it relapsed and spread to her lungs.

“Doctors are saying there is no cure for this. But from 2013 to 2019 I had lived my life completely. I went on trips, did hiking, paragliding... There is a life after cancer and we are not going to just die like that for sure. We have to keep ourselves very positive. Whatever you desire, you get it. I desire for life and see for six years I [have been] fighting for it.”

Another survivor, Priyanka Gupta, artist and fashion designer, said she did everything possible to show the world that nothing is impossible even after cancer hits one.

“Skydiving, zip-lining, hiking, diving, golfing… I did everything that I wanted to because there is life after this. If you have a good heart, good faith and good soul I think everything is possible,” she said, adding that yoga, meditation and support from family helped her the most.

Ingrid Valles, project manager with a publishing group, who did mastectomy followed by chemotherapy and five years of medication after being diagnosed with breast cancer 17 years ago, urged mothers not to forget their health.

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Vipul (centre) poses with hair donors at the hair donation event for World Cancer Day Image Credit: Clint Egbert, Gulf News

“Take time for yourself, do your regular check up every month and if you find there is something wrong, go to a doctor. Don’t wait for months and years to go by. You can just save yourself and help your family. Be strong, be positive.”

Nisrin Arsiwala, a school teacher, reminded cancer patients: “Cancer is not homogenous. We all face cancer in different ways. The only thing that balances cancer is your hope and your spirit to fight it.”

She said women should realise that it is not their breast or their hair that matters but “your spirit, your will to survive and your desire to do things in life.”

CG cuts hair at donation drive

The event also witnessed dozens, including children as young as five, donating their hair to help make wigs for cancer patients who lose hair after chemotherapy.

Vipul, Consul General of India in Dubai, who symbolically cut the hair of two girls at the event, lauded the cancer survivors for sharing the stories of hope and courage and applauded the donors for their big heart.

“Cancer still remains the number two reason for death in the world. We should be aware as to what can be done and what should be done if one gets cancer,” he said appreciating the survivors for spreading awareness in the community.

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Vipul, Consul General of India in Dubai, assists in cutting the hair of volunteers Image Credit: Clint Egbert, Gulf News

Premi Mathew, founder of Hair for Hope India, who organised the event, was also among the survivors who lit lamps to showcase symbol of hope.

“You might wonder what you can give do for cancer patients. They [donors] have shown what you can do even without money. You can just give your heart out to cancer patients,” said Premi.

“Cancer is not a death sentence. We had the survivors here to inspire all the patients and tell that the mind is more important than the medicine because when you lose hope that is when you die mentally and that should not happen to any cancer patient anywhere in the world and that is what we did today.”

The donated hair would be handed over to the Friends of Cancer Patients in Sharjah.