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Cancer awareness walk

Hitaishini, a breast cancer support network, in association with The Telegraph, organised a National Cancer Awareness Day Walk on Wednesday.

Around 200 people took part in the walk that started from Metro Channel and ended at Mohor Kunja. Members and well-wishers of Hitaishini and members of Rotary Club, Inner Wheel Club and NCC cadets joined the walk, many of them dressed in pink and carrying pink balloons.

Shalma Shekar, a software developer who joined the walk, said: “People think that ignorance is the best way. Men are shy to talk about it and accept that even they can have breast cancer.”

Many members of Hitaishini, including founder Vijaya Mukherjee, are cancer survivors. “I set up Hitaishini because of what I suffered, (to answer) the question that are usually left unanswered. Questions like what happens when you face radiation, do you get burns in the process or who is an oncologist and what is his work,” Mukherjee said.

Sukanya Mookerjee, also a cancer survivor and member of Hitaishini, said: “I was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. After being treated, I wrote a book on my experience. I always wanted to do something for breast cancer and when I came to know about Hitaishini, I joined it.”

The walk ended with the participants releasing pink balloons in front of Elliot Park and guests lighting candles at Mohor Kunja. “Releasing balloons signifies celebration of life and sends across a message that cancer is not the end of life,” said Nupur Chakraborty, secretary and caregiver of Hitaishini.

“It is a noble cause. Hitaishini is trying to create awareness and sensitivity…I would like to help in whatever way I can,” said dancer Priti Patel, who was present along with MPs Tarun Mandal and Saugata Roy among others.

The candle-lighting ceremony was followed by a performance by Rupankar.