Children at the cancer ward can teach you a thing or two about life…

I felt like I had just swum across the Pacific; that’s the feeling one gets after a month of examinations. I had just battled my way out of exams and assignments and I deserved a break. Just then my dad walked in and announced that we were going to visit The Cancer Institute and spend some time there. I reluctantly agreed. I wasn’t sure if I could handle it.

I reassured myself that I was going to be strong as the doors to the children’s ward opened but it was not long before my eyes welled up. I had to hold back my tears with all my might, as I was welcomed by the beaming smiles of the children. I smiled back at them, continuously calculating what I should do next. I moved forward and began to talk to them — about their name, age, what they liked doing...

From month-old babies to teenagers, these young warriors fight cancer day and night. I came across this determined boy who wanted to take up his Board exams, but his chance of survival was a question mark that he wasn’t even aware of. Among others were infants who had barely started talking or walking. Imagine the pain they were going through undergoing tests, radiation, tests while missing out on school, Cartoon Network, cycling and street cricket.

It was then time for us to take leave. On my way out I wondered why I always made silly issues seem like big problems. In our life we constantly face situations that make us exasperated. The next time it happens, stop and remember there are people out there fighting bigger problems and pain with a smile and whose very survival is a question mark. These warriors don’t make you feel down and low but rather inspire you.

BELINDA TERRY, Engineering graduate