I Will Live – Experiences Of A Palliative Care Volunteer


By Anirban Sen, CanSupport Volunteer from SOIL, Gurgaon

It was dark and damp inside. It took my eyes sometime to get accustomed to the room when I saw her with a faint smile standing at the door. The room was a 10ft by 10ft with a cement slab and that's all. I wanted to sit and she gracefully offered the only stool in the room. Her smile was infectious and I couldn't help myself but smiled back at her.

Shabana (name changed) was a day labor at a nearby building under construction. She was also a Cancer fighter. And needless to say, a perfect host. As I sat down on the ground in her room I realized how much less in actually less… she had nothing but a mat on the floor with a blanket scramble on one side, there was a small stove and a bunch of packets of Indian spices on one side and a half pumpkin on the other. Maybe we had barged in while she was about to cook.

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.Marcus Aurelius

I was on a visit to cancer patients along with a counselor and a nurse from CanSupport. It is an organization based out of R.K.Puram working for Cancer patients like Shabana and numerous others for the last 20 years.

Shabana was diagnosed with Breast Cancer 2 years back, when her husband deserted her citing that he could not bear the cost of the treatment. She came to Delhi few months later and took a job in the nearby construction site. When she came to know about CanSupport she approached them and her journey of hope and life started with CanSupport.

Behind Shabana was her second husband Shahid (name changed), despite knowing that she had cancer he was all willing to make her a part of his life which is commendable. He too works as a day labor at a site and even though he has a hectic and tiring schedule he makes sure that Shabana takes all her medicine and food on time. Love truly has no boundaries.

Sitting in that small dark room I tried to imbibe the strength and courage of this couple. Her positive outlook has worked miracles and touch-wood she has been improving, I came to know from the counselor. We go out to Motivational Workshops to get a moral boost…but the kind of learning that I had that day is incomparable. Hope she stays well and recover fast.