“My name is Lisa Ray. And I’m a cancer survivor,” said the Toronto-based model-turned-actress dressed in a shimmering silver-grey off-shoulder dress, introducing herself to a crowd of doctors and journalists.
Ray visited the city on Wednesday to inaugurate a cancer institute at the Fortis Hospital in Mulund. “I am still processing the learning experience that cancer has put me through,” said the 38-year-old who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer of the blood cells, a year ago.
The actress, who has starred in films like Kasoor and Water, put on and lost a lot of weight (almost 40 pounds) as well as her lustrous locks during her treatment. But now, after a stem cell transplant, her cancer is in remission and she will soon be seen in Cooking With Stella.
“Courage and the right attitude towards life can overcome all odds,” said Ray, who received tremendous public support after writing about her battle on her blog, which got about 1,00,000 visits in a single day. “People tend to give up in adverse situations, but I have learnt that hope can win.”
Talking about her fight with cancer, she said, “Before my
diagnosis, I used to lead a busy life and ignored fatigue for years.” She felt that a lot of people have the tendency to ignore their bodily signals. “In urban India, I see people pushing themselves every day. They should realise that there is a co-relation between health issues and lifestyle.”
She also announced the institution of a ‘Fortis Lisa Ray award for conquering cancer’.
“I did not ask myself ‘Why me?’ because I’ve had a very blessed life,” she said. “Being diagnosed with cancer is treated like a death sentence, but that’s not the case.”
Dr Boman Dhabar, consultant medical oncologist at the Fortis cancer institute, said that cancer is an emerging health issue in India, with females suffering from cancers of the cervix, breast, ovary, oesophagus and mouth.