Hyderabad (Telangana) [India], June 4 (ANI): A last-stage cancer survivor from Hyderabad with a never-give-up attitude travelled across the country covering around 15 states to spread awareness about his illness.
Harteij Bhartesh has visited many places including cancer hospitals to motivate cancer patients. He further plans to cover the rest of the states in the coming time with his fiancee who is also a cancer survivor.
Bhartesh also runs a campaign called 'Ride of Hope' to convey the message that "there is a life after cancer".
Speaking to ANI, Bhartesh said, "I am a last-stage cancer survivor. I run a campaign called 'Ride of Hope' where I have travelled solo across the country on my bike to meet cancer patients and common people to convey that there is a life after cancer."Bhartesh also runs an NGO, 'Harteij Cancer Foundation'.
Bhartesh said he was 23 when he was diagnosed with third-stage cancer.
"I was 23 when I got diagnosed with third-stage cancer. I did not notice that I have some swelling on the right side of my neck. So I came across this swelling in 2013 and I started following up with the doctors. However, for a year we were not able to diagnose that I have cancer. When I got to know that I have cancer, it was the third stage. Just like others, I was afraid of cancer. We had no cancer history in our house. I wanted to delay my chemotherapy and I did not even want to take chemotherapy. For a year I delayed my chemo and completed my law from Delhi," he said.
Bhartesh said that his oncologist had told him then that he had a 5 per cent chance of survival because he had delayed his treatment and therefore advices people not to do so.
"After that, I started my MBA. I just checked the condition of my cancer and came to know that my bone marrow was also affected and my cancer went into the last stage. I had no options left. My oncologist said that I had a 5 per cent chance of survival. It did not come as a surprise because I had delayed the treatment. Now, I always tell people that whenever you come across that you have cancer you should not delay the treatment. In 2014, I started my treatment. I went under 12 chemotherapies and by December I was fine," he added.
When treatment started, Bhartesh said there were few people including his friends who actually backed out.
"That was a surprise to me. It is a bit where I felt emotionally broken. My brother and his wife supported me a lot during the treatment. I always say that family is one of the biggest things which helps one come out of cancer. It is not the patient who takes the treatment, the patient just goes and takes the medicines but on a larger scale, it is the family who which faces cancer. Though having cancer is not a good thing, post-cancer I had one of the best life I could have ever imagined. It changed my perspective completely. As a survivor, I understand what a cancer patient goes through. I have also become more calm and empathize with people," he added.
Bhartesh said the 'Ride of Hope' campaign was started on May 1, 2017 from Raipur.
"I used to read about Terry Fox and was inspired by him. I had a thought to do something when I survived cancer but I had no idea what to do. I always loved biking. So post my treatment, I travelled across the country. I started my journey on May 1, 2016, from Raipur. I never knew that people will support me this much. I started from Raipur, I came to Mumbai, Nagpur, Hyderabad and more. Everywhere people invited me, gave me a stay, food and that's how most of my campaign was funded and the rest of the money was taken care of by my family. I have already covered 15 states and would like to cover the rest of the 14 states. Now, I have a fiance who is a cancer survivor and a gynecologist. This time, I aim to do it in January with my fiance," he added.
Harteij Bhartesh's elder brother Shrot Bhartesh said that the treatment was a battle for him and everyone worked together"During the treatment of cancer which was deducted in the last stage, we did it in Hyderabad. The treatment went for almost 12 chemotherapies with almost four to five months. We had to deal with a lot of emotional ups and downs and obviously, physical health ups and downs. In one chemo, it was something else and in another chemo, it was something different. All of these things were there during the treatment. It was family support that helped to get through. We did a lot of changes during the treatment including the normal treatment and the godly treatment like the numerologist, astrologers and others. We also followed very healthy diets throughout the treatments. It was a battle, he could not win alone, so we all worked together," said Shrot Bhartesh. (ANI)