This is the sixth year I am participating in the CIBC Run for the Cure. The first year was 2008, when my sister Snehal was diagnosed with breast cancer. Our biggest fundraising year, was 2012, the year that sis passed away. She was only 35.
Her life would seem too short to many, but those who were touched by her understood that the quality of existence far exceeds the quantity of time we live. Her faith, courage and determination will continue to be an inspiration to all.
Two things kept her going. One was her daughter Deeya, who was just a year old when Snehal was diagnosed. She fought really hard for her daughter. Five months after her stage 2 diagnosis, the cancer had metastasised to the bone and liver, and the odds were not in her favour. Even after that, she had us convinced that she would live until she was 70 and survived for another four years.
The second was her faith. She had a very deep spiritual faith that became even stronger when she was diagnosed. She never gave up hope, even when she was at stage 4.
What kept us going was her positive attitude. She had even planned a trip to Hawaii for the entire family knowing she had only six months to go.
Why do I continue to run? I run because this is my way of keeping my sister’s memory alive, as well as making sure that her daughter Deeya never gets diagnosed with breast cancer. I run because I don’t want breast cancer to affect my mum, my wife, my niece or my future children.
I run because I want a future where breast cancer is eradicated or we at least have a treatment for it where we can save lives and reduce the pain they undergo.
Every third person I know has been affected by breast cancer. Often times, people donate unexpectedly. Friends I haven’t spoken to in over three years, people I haven’t even met, or repeating donors have supported our cause. I believe that getting the message out to as many people as possible is very important. I hope my story encourages more team captains to sign up!
(Snehal Mehta passed away in April 2012, at the age of 35, at her home in Burnaby, BC. Hemanshu’s Team Snehal has raised $38,177 for CBCF over the past five years.)
For the French version of the story, click here