The hope posts

She runs the only Hindi blog on cancer,her autobiography Indradhanush ke Peeche-Peeche,has had three editions printed since it was released in 2005.

Written by Irena Akbar | Published: March 8, 2009 10:27 pm

R.Anuradha runs the only Hindi blog on cancer and with her posts tries to spread awareness on the disease

She runs the only Hindi blog on cancer,her autobiography Indradhanush ke Peeche-Peeche,has had three editions printed since it was released in 2005 and has had some 5,000 copies sold so far (a good figure in the Hindi non-fiction market) and she has been invited by two national television networks to speak on cancer. R. Anuradha,a 41-year-old journalist and a survivor of cancer twice over,has become a guru of sorts for cancer patients.

Anuradha was first diagnosed with the disease when she was 30 and was working with Doordarshan. In May 1998,she was told she has cancer in her left breast. Her reaction was pragmatic. “It was a problem that had to be dealt with logically,” she recalls. And so,she surfed the Internet,asked her doctor never-ending questions and listened to other patients’ experiences. The knowledge she gained helped not just her but also kick-started her awareness campaign on the disease. In the meantime,in 2000,she lost her mother to breast cancer.

After her treatment,she leapt back into action,starting off by going to the Laxmibai Nagar Mandir (near her home in Laxmibai Nagar) which would often organise vaccination camps. When she asked if could organise a breast cancer awareness camp there,she was told that the temple is an “unsuitable place for such obscene issues”. And so,in 2004,she organised a camp at the CGHS dispensary,spreading the word about it by pasting posters on the walls in her neighbourhood and coordinating with doctors to come and speak there. The camp was well-attended and within 15 days,another camp was organised at the dispensary.

In April 2005 though,she was dealt another blow. Her cancer recurred,this time in her right breast,which too,had to be removed. And even though she was bitter about the fact that “despite the utmost care she took,the disease revisited her”,she kept up with her mission—that is to spread awareness among women that they should do regular self-checks and to dispel the notion that breast removal scars their femininity. And so,she attended informal gatherings such as kitty parties where she sought to awaken women to the merits of early lump detection. At about the same time,her autobiography hit the market and a short film called Bhor was made on her story.

After that,she got in touch with NGOs and the Mastectomy Association of India to contribute her bit to their campaigns. In 2007,she was invited by a group of doctors and Jagriti,an NGO in Jalandhar,to inspire women with her story.

Currently,she’s turned to new technology for a wider reach. Her blog,Indradhanush (ranuradha.blogspot.com),is the only Hindi blog on cancer,she says. Some of the posts she’s written talk about new researches on the disease and case studies.

She is also available on call for AIIMS’s cancer patients. She gets about eight calls a month and goes every Saturday to counsel patients undergoing treatment.

Anuradha,who’s currently working as an editor with the Publications Division of the I&B Ministry,also visits the Shanti Avedna Sadan Cancer Hospice every weekend,where she “tries to cheer up” terminally ill patients by reading to them short,inspiring stories such as those by Kahlil Gibran. Sometimes,she leaves behind for them children’s stories to read.

This month,the Gujarati translation of her autobiography is expected to be released by the Surat-based publishing house,Sahitya Sangam.

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