KATHMANDU (Xinhua) – Defying the general misconception that life becomes purposeless after cancer diagnosis, some two dozen cancer survivors in Nepal walked on the ramp in the capital city on Friday night.
With the latest Nepali folk songs playing in background and reflection of fancy lights, the cancer survivors confidently walked on the ramp, maintaining their grace and smile in the hall of Hotel Heritage Garden in front of around 500 audience.
Unlike the regular fashion shows of models, the charity event was inaugurated by an eight-year-old kid, Lian Awale, who survived blood cancer, followed by a song performance by 21-year-old Dikshya Hada, who is battling the fourth phase of synovial sarcoma cancer.
“It is a great pleasure to participate in a unique show surrounded by positive people. Though I am still struggling with the cancer, the show has given me motivation and hope,” Ms Hada, an architect student from Bhaktapur, shared with Xinhua before the show.
She was not just accompanied by her family members in the event, but her 17-year-old brother Yash Hada boosted her confidence by playing guitar, winning the applause of the audience from different walks of life including high-profile celebrities and the mayor of Lalitpur Metropolitan City.
“Seeing so many cancer-suffering people in a single platform, I realised that my daughter is not alone in this race,” Ms Dikshya’s mother told Xinhua in a lowering tone.
Cancer survivors from different walks of life and different age groups walked on the ramp, wearing traditional outfits. The ramp show was even choreographed by a cancer survivor.
The 45-year-old Subina Chapagain from Kathmandu was the one, who participated in the show in the ethnic Sherpa dress. “I won over breast cancer some eight years ago. Today, I am living a happy life with my family. We should not fear cancer, but fight against it,” she told Xinhua after walking on the ramp.
In typical Nepali outfit Daura Suruwal, Pradeep Sapkota, who nearly escaped death from mouth related cancer buccal mucosa, had a similar story to share.
“Many people think that cancer is not curable but it’t not true. If we conduct regular screening and receive treatment from the early stages, we can win over cancer. I am here to raise awareness about the same,” Ms Sapkota told Xinhua.
At the end of the show, a few doctors, too, joined the survivors on the ramp to cheer them up and to extend moral support, creating an encouraging atmosphere.
The ramp show dedicated to the cancer survivors was organized for the first time in the country by Nepal Cancer Support Group and its unit Sudipta, which refers to the glowing light.
The event, with the slogan “Cancer is also curable. There is life after Cancer,” aimed to create awareness and spread a positive message that cancer is not the end of the life.
“Cancer leads to physical, mental, financial and psychological struggles for the patients and their family members. But it is curable and post-cancer life can be still amazing as before,” Ms Sworupa Shrestha, the event coordinator, told Xinhua.
Ms Shrestha and her husband Dr Sudip Shrestha have been running the Nepal Cancer Hospital and Research Center in the past few years, while their Nepal Cancer Support Group extends assistance to the needy cancer patients and their families.
According to Shrestha, the fund raised from the ramp show will be exclusively used for the treatment of cancer patients coming from poor family backgrounds.
According to the Nepal Health Research Council, some 30,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed every year in the country, among which only around 10,000 patients visit the hospital to receive treatment.
Studies reveal that the Nepali people mostly suffer from cancer related to lungs, oral cavity, breast, thyroid and cervix. Breast cancer is more common among women while men generally suffer from lung cancer.
“Regular health check-up and healthy life style is the key to prevent cancer. There are hospitals with advanced technologies within the country, so people should not fear anymore,” Ms Shrestha suggested.