It was an evening dedicated to bravery, self-belief and courage this International Women’s Day at The Imperial hotel, Connaught Place. Though I do not advocate the concept of the day for more reasons than one and keep myself from the celebrations but this one was different. The focus was to lay more emphasis on women’s health by Roko Cancer Charitable Trust and an inspirational first-person account of Ms Joita Soni, a two-time cancer survivor and a member of Roko Cancer’s Le’ Flamingo club.
While we all are eternally busy in achieving our goals, we neglect our health and women, by nature, are more responsive to everything good or bad. Hence, we need to take more care of ourselves physically, mentally as well as emotionally since all these factors regulate our hormones which can play havoc with the overall health. There has been an alarming rise in the cases of breast and cervical cancer in India in the past decade and one of the major reasons is the neglect of personal care.
Blame it on the society or the patriarchal structure, women often feel guilty for small things and don’t share their problems easily with others. The first session on the importance of healthy living for women was taken by Dr. Sakshi Sharma, Senior Manager, Projects and Health Planning, Roko Cancer Charitable Trust. She also urged the women to take pride in themselves. Recently, in a leading publication, I read a quote where the interviewee said that once she wears the helmet, she is only a racer and not a woman. At first, it reads fine and very normal but after a little deliberation, one realises that we still have not come out of the mindset that women are not capable of doing certain things. As a woman, I felt sad and slightly let down by this statement and would like to ask all the women out there to feel happy about you and have faith in your capabilities. Before I drift into a different conversation, let’s go back to The Imperial.
After Dr. Sakshi’s informative session, Ms Joita Soni shared her experience and journey of fighting cancer twice and how she came out victorious. Soni told that she went for her first chemotherapy session in 2010 and while on the seventh session, the doctors detected another lump and that was a devastating moment for her. But instead of losing hope, Soni decided to fight back and took up meditation to keep her energies positive. It is her strong will-power and dedication to defeat the monstrous disease that Soni is able to stand in front of us all hale and hearty.
While talking about her hard-to-believe survival journey, she went down memory lane sharing her most difficult decision “I will not feel sorry for myself for what I am going through.” She shared a strong message on the occasion – “Stop being a pleaser to others, negating your own self. This leads to storing of emotions against the rhythm of your body, developing into negative hormones which are eventually released in the form of diseases. Be spiritually awake and stay happy for your own self first!”
Dr. Neha Garg, Manager Projects and Health Planning, Roko Cancer Charitable Trust, had organised a special 20-minute meditation session to culminate the evening with peace and relaxation for all.
Text and images by Supriya Aggarwal