Only in the darkness can you see the stars. At the Day Care, most cancer patients are going through difficulties greater than themselves and they find it difficult to communicate and be cheerful. But not Sheela. She is always the centre of attention, the most lively person in the adult Day Care. There isn’t a single day at the Day Care, when she isn’t full of life. And her happiness is almost contagious, she makes sure that everyone around her is having just as much fun. She participates in every activity and makes the best of her few hours at the adult Day Care.
But things haven’t always been that way for Sheela. At first I found it impossible to believe that someone with her personality could have been through everything she has. Originally from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Sheela’s family consists of her two daughters and husband. Things changed for them when Sheela was diagnosed with cancer. They had to bring Sheela to Delhi to get her the appropriate treatment. When they came to Delhi, the family stayed at her sister-in-law’s house. Her husband and daughters left soon after since it wasn’t possible for them to leave their lives behind in Gorakhpur and relocate. But the real issue started after that. Her sister-in-law insisted that her sickness would spread to everyone around her and threw her out as a means of what she thought was her ‘protecting her family’. Sheela was all alone, exhausted and overwhelmed with absolutely no where to go. Her life had shattered and she was incapable of dealing with everything all at once. Cancer was more than just a medical issue to her, it had taken a toll on her relationships and had literally brought her onto the street.
She spent several days on park benches, alone and terrified. One day, she was sitting all alone at a park crying when a man named Anil came up to her and asked if she was alright. It was difficult for her to trust anyone when her own family had done all of this to her. But she was alone and she didn’t have a better option. She trembled and broke down, as she told her story. Anil and his wife knew that no one deserved what she had gone through. She was almost their mother’s age, abandoned and sick. They got her a room near their own and supported her through her journey. Today, Anil and his wife are her family, a family she deserved but did not have before. They may not be related by blood but Anil proved to be the angel in Sheela’s life.
When Anil found out about CanSupport, he believed that they could help Sheela overcome what she had been through. Her will to live would be important for her recovery and he recognized that. For Sheela, Anil and CanSupport together gave her a second chance at life, and were the reason for her full of life personality. She has undergone 30 radiation therapies, a uterus surgery and has been treated for two tumours. She faces trouble while walking and sitting and her extensive treatment is still going on. Yet her smile makes it seem like she’s free of any pain. She wants to fight cancer and regain her strength and dignity. Sheela talks to other patients in the Day Care and gives them hope as well. She tells them that things will get better and that they should stay positive. She may not be healthy physically but mentally she is one of the strongest patients. She often counsels patients on certain days. She is extremely proud of her daughters who are going to complete their studies and start working soon. Her excitement is greater to her than the pain that can be seen on her face. She is going to have a last test done and then go back home to her family. Sheela is a survivor in the truest of terms and her courage is truly great.