Sunday, June 5, 2016

50 for Aradhana

Aradhana (Athavale) Chitnis


Dear Stranger,

I need your help to mark a birthday. No, it’s not like one with the big party, cake and fun. In a way it is a celebration as it is my sister’s birthday. But she is no longer with us. Hence, I want your help to mark it. 
For this, I want you to convince the woman you are most close to, it may be your sister, or wife, mother, cousin or a friend, to get an examination for breast cancer. She should go for a physical examination by a doctor and get a sono mammogram. The idea is that by my sister’s 50th birthday on September 5, I want at least 50 women screened for breast cancer, and with good (negative) test results. You also have to write to me your relation to the woman and why you convinced her to go for it, and the results. Please also send me a picture (of yourself if you have gone for the examination) of the person you convinced and yourself, and where you hail from.
There’s nothing in it for me but the satisfaction that 50 women got themselves screened. And they thought about my sister, Aradhana. There’s only relief in it for you when your loved one gets negative results. But if at all it is positive, she stands a good chance at survival. Staying a step ahead of breast cancer is still the only way to survive it.
Why would you do this? Because I may not know you, but I do know the pain of losing my sister, and I don’t want you to go through it. Every person is loved and his or her absence makes a world of difference to someone. Don’t let that someone be you. It’s a small medical examination, but it will save more people than one. Most of all, it will save you.

Love,

AA


Thursday, February 12, 2015

He's just a pesky cub reporter


This morning I learnt that one of my former bosses has breast cancer.

She was one of my first bosses when I started out in journalism. In fact, RB is the best boss I have had in my career. She is someone I admire a lot professionally. She has also been a superior who was honest and never played politics with me – something that I cannot say for some of the other bosses I have had.

I was just starting out in journalism and there were times when I didn’t know how to go about a subject. She often guided me then. I was in awe. I always tried hard not to give her a reason to chide me. I was successful sometimes, sometimes I was not. But I enjoyed working with her. I admired how she would work hard with her team and also be a friend to them.

It was difficult to believe she has breast cancer. But I can say from what I know of her, she’s going to rid herself of it asap.
Treat it like one of those pesky cub reporters RB, the one that thinks he’s going to be the next executive editor! Put him in his place! Tell him you don’t know who you’re dealing with. He’ll behave like he’s going to teach you a thing or two, but you know better. He’ll want to make you do things his way, but show him you’ll only do what you want to.

Don’t think much of him. But take the chance to often laugh at him.

Don’t listen to him. But talk to yourself.

Most of all, keep this in mind, that he’s picked up a formidable opponent.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Thank you Jacki



After I interviewed Jacki Donaldson, she put up the interview on her blog. Here is the link to it



http://cancerspot.org/2014/12/10/my-words-are-in-mumbai/


Monday, September 29, 2014

My sister's belongings





For years I have kept some of my sister’s belongings. This mug and blade were probably used by her when she was doing the commercial artist’s course. I still use some of her clothes. Of course, many of us keep things that once belonged to a loved one who has left us. We know fully well that there’s not much in a thing. What we have in our hearts is more valuable. But we continue to hold on to things, taking strange comfort from them.
Initially I used to be upset with change. Little things like a mouse that was changed when my pc was upgraded affected me. It was used by her, so I had lost another part of her. But then I realised the memories were worth more. Still, I couldn’t let go of some things. So they remain with me. I look at them and feel good that I kept something that was used and loved by her. It’s true, death doesn’t end a relationship. These things are safe with me. I know she would have wanted it that way.
But as I kept some things, I also stay away from some. Like a type of bag she wanted and asked me to buy for her, but it never happened. Every time I see it in shops, I turn away.

Everything has changed for me after my sister’s loss. I have changed. So these things I have kept, remind me of the time we were all together and content. Of more good times than bad times. Of times before and not after. Far from the time that changed 
us all.  

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Tutu Project


Writing for this blog affects me. That’s why I disappear for months together. That’s why I try to stay away from it for a while. But then, along comes a story that I just have to write about, that I want to make sure my readers also see.

The Tutu Project is what brings me back to my blog now. A man in pink shorts and a pink tutu, photographing himself in the US and some other countries, to raise a laugh and money for breast cancer organisations. What inspired him? His wife who is fighting breast cancer.

Bob Carey, who’s a photographer, is selling the pictures in book form. He says the project helped his wife Linda and him cope with the situation. He writes about his wife on his site www.thetutuproject.com  ‘During these past nine years, I’ve been in awe of her power, her beauty, and her spirit. Oddly enough, her cancer has taught us that life is good, dealing with it can be hard, and sometimes the very best thing—no, the only thing—we can do to face another day is to laugh at ourselves, and share a laugh with others.’

Says Linda, “It gave us something to focus on that was fun.”
The two also feel the book will give hope to other cancer patients.

See his images. Share a laugh.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Evelyn Lauder, creator of the pink ribbon, passes away

The news didn’t receive much mention from the press here. Evelyn Lauder, credited with creating the pink ribbon, a symbol of breast cancer awareness, passed away on November 12, 2011. Sadly, she died of complications from another kind of cancer that happens to women, ovarian cancer.

Lauder created the pink ribbon in 1992. The daughter-in-law of Estee Lauder, who created the eponymous cosmetics company, Lauder and her husband began their campaign for breast cancer awareness by financing the bows given to women at department stores’ make up counters, to remind them of breast examinations. Their campaign grew and led to the designation of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the US, and the foundation by Lauder, of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The Independent, UK, quotes her recalling the early days of the campaign, saying there was no publicity about breast cancer but a “confluence of events – the pink ribbon, the colour, the press, partnering with Elizabeth Hurley, having Estée Lauder as an advertiser in magazines and persuading so many of my friends who are health and beauty editors to do stories about breast health – got people talking."
The report mentions that three years after the first pink ribbon was distributed, she said, a flight attendant noted one on Lauder's lapel and said, "I know that's for breast cancer."
Lauder said: "From there, it became ubiquitous."

The cause has lost an activist. But I, for one, am sure that Lauder must have inspired many women to go out there and work for it. Her message about being aware remains alive in the form of the pink ribbon and her work. Let’s continue it and get people talking.