Sunshine story: Mumbai photographers start cancer fund for their own

Lensmen rally after finding out about the ace wildlife photographer Ashish Dwivedi's blood cancer diagnosis

Ashish Dwivedi was diagnosed with blood cancer in June 2016
Ashish Dwivedi was diagnosed with blood cancer in June 2016

Here's what a brethren that band together look like. When ace wildlife photographer Ashish Dwivedi was diagnosed with blood cancer in June 2016, he could only process the fact that the treatment would be expensive - Rs 12-15 lakh. However, in an ongoing act of selflessness, the community of photographers decided that they couldn't just watch from the sidelines, and took up the cause of creating a fund for him; within a month, they have collected Rs 6.5 lakh.

"After the diagnosis, I initially started treatment at the Tata Memorial Hospital, and later, shifted to a hospital in Delhi. As the treatment is costly, I am now at the Sawai Mansingh Hospital in Jaipur. I am thankful to my relatives, friends and members from the wildlife fraternity who have come forward to help me in getting a treatment that would otherwise not be possible for a middle-class person like me."

Rallying cry
"After we heard, we all decided to start a campaign to raise funds; the message was spread across various individuals and forums like WhatsApp, but privately. Then, our team members suggested that photographers should share their best images for an auction and the bidder should directly transfer the amount to Dwivedi's account. Thereafter, we witnessed some very touching moments as many members decided to contribute to the fund without even bidding. We even had a schoolgoing kid contribute to the cause," said Sarosh Lodhi from Conservation Lenses and Wildlife, an independent group of wildlife lovers and photographers.

The post was, however, made public around a month ago and shared on social media, which is when help truly started pouring in. Till date, approximately 170 photographers, wildlife enthusiasts and general public have contributed, and Rs 6.5 lakh has been collected.

Who stepped up?
Noted photographers Masood Hussain, Archna Singh, Mohan Thomas, Prakash Ramakrishnan and Shivang Mehta posted their images for the auction, with funds still coming in to tide Dwivedi through the rough waters.

Meet Ashish Dwivedi
Dwivedi is a mathematics teacher since 1997 at PBAS Inter College, Hathrasin, Uttar Pradesh. A keen wildlife lover since his childhood, he has been visiting various wildlife sanctuaries and national parks for behavioural studies of birds and mammals. He had even raised his voice to make Nagla Kaanch (a wetland and home for thousands of migratory birds) a sanctuary to protect the birds and stopping the illegal poaching.

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