Last time, we brought you an interview with Dr Pawan Gupta, the National President of Indian Cancer Winners Association. In this issue we introduce you to another key player, Shri Suresh Prakash Agarwal, the National Secretary of the association. Shri Agarwal is a pioneer who helped in the concept and development of the I CAN WIN association. Here, he talks to medical communicator Dr Natasha Das about the association’s visions and achievements.
Dr Natasha: Namaste Sureshji. It’s a pleasure to have you with us. Please tell us something about yourself.
Suresh Ji: Dr Natasha ji namashkar. I hail from Moradabad and studied M.Com, M.A (Eco) & M.B.A from Ghaziabad. I am about 71 yrs old. We have settled at Ghaziabad since 1998. I have been involved in pharma distributorship of MNC's since 1960 and became a depot holder at Ghaziabad for Bayer India Ltd, a German based company. I got married in Jan 1972 to Shashi ji and am blessed with a son and now with a grandson who fills my life with joy and happiness.
Dr Natasha: Tell us something about your wife, Shashiji and her journey through cancer.
Suresh Ji: I was fortunate to have Shashi ji as my life partner. She was a versatile lady and a great artist. She organized many art exhibitions in Delhi, Ghaziabad and Moradabad. She developed a lump in her breast, which was later detected as cancer. In June 2006 she was operated upon by Dr. Pawan Gupta. She was treated and was fine till early 2009. Later she started having some movement problems and an MRI of the brain showed advanced stage of cancer again. This time the breast cancer had metastasized to the brain. Till her last breath in September 2009, she was an active member of the I CAN WIN association and helped many ladies like her to overcome the fear of cancer and become winners.
Dr Natasha: I was coming to that. I believe both you and Shashiji have been associated with the Indian Cancer Winners (I CAN WIN) Association right from day of its conception. Please tell us about how everything started.
Suresh Ji: As I told you, she was a lady of great social aptitude. In January 2008, both of us decided to celebrate our marriage anniversary in the form of a Cancer Awareness program at our residence .We spoke to Dr. Pawan Gupta and Dr. Praveen Bansal about this thought. They were kind enough to spare their valuable time and accept our request to be present on the occasion and lend their immense support. The program was quite successful; about 100 families attended and admired the concept. It was an eye-opener and educative program about cancer. That was the first program we conducted under the banner of the Indian Cancer Winners’ Association.
Dr Natasha: Shashiji’s sad demise must be a huge personal loss to you. Despite this, your inner strength to work in a dedicated manner for the cause of cancer is really commendable.
Suresh Ji: I am unable to find words to express Shashiji’s absence. With her I lost a great companion. She was great contributor towards my progress. After losing her, I took a vow to devote the rest of my life to fulfill Shashiji’s last wish i.e. to save as many lives as possible by creating greater awareness about cancer and facilitating early detection. It is a sermon for me and a new direction to my life.
Dr Natasha: What have been I CAN WIN association’s key achievements over the last couple of years?
Suresh Ji: Dr. Natasha, I feel proud to state the overwhelming response we are receiving from all the corners. Presently we have five chapters (branches) at Moradabad, Faridabad, Ghaziabad, Noida & Delhi. Over 200 members have been enrolled and we have contacted around 2 lakh people by way of walk /rally, screening and awareness programs at all the chapters. It is a combined effort of all our valuable members particularly Dr. Pawan Gupta , Dr. Manish Wadhwa, Sh. RK Goel, Mrs Prabha Gupta , Dr BC Gupta , Dr. Rudra Acharya , Dr. Vinod Kumar and you, Dr. Natasha.
Dr Natasha: Thank you, Suresh Ji. That’s what an association is all about… getting associated together to bring about a larger change. Please tell our readers about the future plans.
Suresh Ji: We are planning to have screening mobile van to speed up the screening process and to cover interior of tier 2 & tier 3 towns. Five more chapters are to be operated by June 2010 with the help of our honorable members referred earlier and other friends and volunteers. We are also liaising with other government as well as private organizations to help us in achieving our objectives.
Dr Natasha: Anything else that you would like to add?
Suresh Ji: I pray to the Almighty to bless all our members so that they become most active and this movement becomes like a Jihad.
Dr Natasha: Insallah! Thank you for your time. It has been nice talking to somebody who has seen cancer from such close proximity and gathered so much strength to help others win over cancer.
Suresh Ji: Thank you for giving me a chance to speak up. This conversation has filled me with a new energy and a booster dose for gearing up the activities of I CAN WIN association at a much faster speed.