Dream Run: Childhood cancer survivor to run Mumbai Marathon, raise awareness on the disease

Sandeep Yadav will raise awareness on how cancer can not only be cured, but its survivors and patients can live a healthy life, sans the stigma

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Sandeep Yadav (in white shirt) with his Professional Oncological Care Giving course classmates at Tata Institute of Social Science, in 2015

In 2007, Sandeep Yadav was barely 13-years-old when he was diagnosed with bone cancer. He underwent a rigorous treatment and was completely cured a year later. It’s been 10 years since he has survived the dreaded disease, and this new lease of life has encouraged him to run the marathon.

In the 14th edition of Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon, Yadav will spread awareness on how cancer can not only be defeated, but cancer survivors and patients can live a healthy life, sans the stigma.

“I was diagnosed with bone cancer 10 years ago. I have beaten it and now it is the cause of my life. I want to spread awareness on bone cancer through my participation in the marathon,” said 22-year-old Yadav, who is based in Wadala, Mumbai.

Yadav was studying in class VII, when he was detected with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer.

“Immediately after the diagnosis, my father brought me to Mumbai and my treatment started at Tata Memorial Hospital. Initially, I couldn’t understand what had happened to me, but eventually I came to know about my cancer,” said Yadav.

Originally from Khalilabad city in UP, Yadav is presently working with NGO Can Kids… Kids Can, which works with children with cancer.

“My inspiration to work for cancer patients has come from my one-year treatment in Mumbai. During my treatment, I went through chemotherapy sessions and an operation. Even in pain, I didn’t lose hope. Faith is the key of my happy and healthy life for the last 10 years,” said he said.

Though Yadav successfully defeated cancer, he had faced discrimination at his hometown after recovery, which he says was due to lack of awareness and misconceptions among people about the cancer.

“When I returned to my hometown, people’s point of view towards me had changed. They would look down upon me. Relatives also stopped visiting our home and that’s when I decided to spread awareness about cancer. Tell people that cancer does not mean an end of life,” said Yadav.

With the aim to raise awareness on how a cancer survivor can lead a normal life, Yadav continued his studies post treatment. He is currently pursuing BA in long distance course in UP.  In 2015, Yadav did Professional Oncological Care Giving course at Tata Institute of Social Science.

Yadav heard about the marathon from his colleagues in office and decided to participate in it. He will run 6km in Dream Run category and is preparing by running 3km twice a day and following a healthy diet.

His elder brother, Santosh Yadav, said, “It is a very proud moment for us. After defeating cancer, now he is participating in Mumbai Marathon. I wish him the best.”

“Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare type of cancerous tumour that grows in your bones or soft tissues around your bones, such as cartilage or nerves. The prevalence of this cancer in India is 3-5 children in every one lakh,” said Dr Haresh Mangalani, Consultant Orthopaedic Oncosurgeon at Asian Cancer Institute.