9 cancer survivors to represent India at World Children's Winners Games

Jul 03, 2018, 15:37 IST | Rupsa Chakraborty

Nine cancer survivors, including 7 from city, to represent India this week at the World Children's Winners Games in Russia

9 cancer survivors to represent India at World Children's Winners Games
The participants from Mumbai with their parents

For these nine children who have beaten cancer, representing India at the World Children's Winners Games in Russia should be child's play. All are no older than 15, and the youngest among them is eight-year-old Bhaaragv Jain, who beat Wilms tumour (nephroblastoma, which starts in the kidneys). They will go on to compete in six categories — running, football, chess, rifle shooting, table tennis and swimming — at the Winners Games this week.

Kids, parents thrilled
While all nine are patients of Tata Memorial Hospital, seven are residents of Mumbai, and the remaining are from Telangana and Madhya Pradesh. Sarika Sagalgile, mother of Kavya, 9, the only female participant from the group, said, "In 2013, when she was diagnosed with blood cancer, we never imagined that one day, she would be represent India at an international platform."

Zohair Dhinojwala from Hyderabad, and Mihir Singh from MP
Zohair Dhinojwala from Hyderabad, and Mihir Singh from MP

She added that cancer patients suffer from depression and inferiority complex, but such events help to boost morale. "My daughter is participating in all six activities. She has been training daily, which has helped to improve her self-confidence," she said.

Hyderabad-based Murtuza Dhinojwala, father of Zohair, 13, said, "I still get flashbacks to the day when he was diagnosed... We used to travel all the way from Hyderabad to Mumbai for his treatment. I have no words to express the feelings I had when I learnt he is going to represent India."

Funding low
The games are a unique annual event for childhood cancer survivors organised since 2010 by the Gift of Life foundation. Last year, Tata hospital had sent 14 survivors, but the number was reduced this year due to budgetary constraints.

"We have been representing India since 2014 and, for the last two years, winning medals in almost all categories," said Ameeta Bhatia, volunteer social worker at the hospital's paediatric department.

Last year, brain cancer survivor Kayan Anklesaria, 13, had received the most medals. He told mid-day the competition had boosted his confidence. "Cancer survivors across the globe participate. When we talk to them, we realise that cancer can happen to anyone, and one can also win the fight against it. Then, when you win a medal for your country, your confidence soars."

An official from the hospital revealed that while many donors contribute to the treatment, few are willing to fund such initiatives. "This year, we are taking nine along with one of their parents. They will be accompanied by a volunteer and doctor. People don't understand that this kind of competition boosts the confidence of the survivors."

The champions
Bhaaragv Jain, 8; Garvil Pratik, 10; Mihir Singh, 13; Zohair Dhinojwala, 13; Kavya Sagalgile, 9; Hrithik Ande, 15; Kunal Mahamuni, 14; Mohammed Ansari, 15; Ibne Ali, 15

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