An inspirational story of Harteij Bhartesh, who survived the advanced stage of Blood Cancer and surpassed difficulties with hope and faith.
We bring to you a real-life story of Mr. Harteij Bhartesh and how he overcame the social stigma attached to Cancer. Mr. Harteij is a Lawyer by profession, philanthropist, cancer influencer, fitness enthusiast, biker, and cancer survivor.
He was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma-Stage III while pursuing his Bachelors in LLB and the last semester. From then, his life changed 365 degrees, but what did not change was his aspiration of building a strong career in Law and pursuing his interests of being a fitness expert and a biker.
He pursued all his dreams while he was getting treated for cancer. He could do this because of two major factors, one being his determination and second love from his family. Surviving Cancer and achieving his aspirations was challenging, but he kept himself motivated to have endless hope. His story teaches us how important it is to have hope and see beyond the social belief that Cancer is a dead end. From his interview with us, we bring five critical lessons worth knowing.
Five Important lessons from Harteij Bhartesh
1.You need to be Fast: As Cancer doesn’t wait!
When Harteij was in the last semester of his BA, LLB, he was diagnosed with Stage III cancer, but since there was one semester remaining, he wanted to complete it. As he was completing his degree, his Cancer was progressing at a faster pace.
After a few months, when he repeated the tests, he realized that his Cancer had progressed to Stage IV, and then his doctor suggested that he was late for the treatment and had only a 5% chance of survival.
This was disturbing news as he was planning to do his MBA then. But, Harteij tells us that it did not affect his aspirations as his primary focus was to overcome all this and start a normal life. He was only looking at a bright and better future.
The intentional delay made in the treatment had given a valuable lesson to him that everything can wait, but at this moment, his health has to be his priority because Cancer will not wait; it will only progress and deteriorate his health.
2. Not Letting Social Stigma Affect Thoughts
During his treatment, Harteij realized that societal acceptance of a cancer patient could be challenging. Societal misconceptions pertaining to cancer made it difficult for him to get back to a normal professional and personal life post-treatment.
He found it impossible to find a suitable job, as employers believed that due to Cancer, he might not be competent enough to perform the job with efficiency. Harteij told us that one employer said he would not be able to sit continuously for many hours and work due to his medical history.
He was surprised to receive such reactions. According to his experiences, there are many misconceptions about Cancer in our society. People at large cannot accept the fact that a cancer survivor can fit into normal life without much problem.
Finally, with a lot of persuasion, Harteij got a suitable job in an MNC and successfully worked with them for years. In his words, “A chance is something which is very important in such times, and it can be frustrating if no one is willing to give that one chance.”
3.Medical Insurance is a must.
Through his encounter with Cancer, Harteij learned that it is essential to have medical insurance. Cancer treatment can bring a heavy financial toll on ones saving. As his doctor had broken the news of his Cancer progressing to Stage IV, he also mentioned that they might need a bone marrow transplant, which was a costly treatment.
That time Harteij learned that if he had a medical cover, it would have helped him cover the expenses. Fortunately, it was later informed to him that he doesn’t require a bone marrow transplant.
4.Cancer is not the end.
According to Harteij, for him, Cancer did not mean an end; rather it was a new beginning that marked the commencement of a journey of having hope and giving hope.
In his words, “I wanted to survive. I was my own determination. I wanted to return to a normal life, survive and do something to help other cancer patients.”
Harteij learned that there is life beyond Cancer if you hope for it. It can be survived, and he is a living testimony of this. Many people worldwide have survived Cancer and are breaking all the social stigmas attached to Cancer. They are back with a bang post their treatment and inspiring lives around them.
Harteij, too, has travelled across 15 states and over 20,000 Km to raise awareness about life after Cancer. His bike ride campaign, known as “Ride of Hope,” inspires cancer patients and survivors to have strong faith and hope in themselves to survive the journey.
5.You receive as you give.
In March 2016, Harteij wanted to do something to create cancer awareness among general people. He planned a solo bike ride across India, with stops at different cities to spread awareness about Cancer.
This voyage needed funds; he could manage the initial finances with the help of his family and five of his friends.
On the 1st of May 2016, he started his journey from Raipur, Chhattisgarh. He travelled to almost half of the country and visited cancer institutes, schools, and offices. He spoke about his experience with Cancer everywhere he went and helped dispel some myths about cancer and cancer survivors.
As Harteij helped people on his journey, he started recovering. His health improved, and he was determined to help others and give them hope about life beyond Cancer.
After phase-I of his ride, he created a group called ‘Riders of Hope’ that would provide counselling and help to cancer patients. This group is dedicated to helping cancer patients anywhere in India for free.
In a nutshell:
Harteij has completed almost nine years post his cancer diagnosis. His survival journey is the epitome of determination, courage, hope, and kindness. He mentions that life post Cancer has made him stronger. He has more friends than before and has learned to lead a healthy and active life.
He states he looks at life positively and wants to complete his ride and cover the remaining states of India and spread more awareness about Cancer.
His message to our readers is that there is a better life beyond Cancer. It is not the ultimate end; it entirely depends on an individual to strive harder to recover and survive.
Lastly, Harteij states that staying physically active and having a balanced diet is crucial for all to have a better and healthy life. He also urges people to approach him if anyone needs assistance during their treatment.
Battling Cancer becomes easy when a cancer patient has someone to talk and to share. We invite cancer patients, survivors, and their relatives to join our vibrant Onco Cancer Care Community on Facebook. Let us join and make this journey great for each other.