Kerala’s inspirational cancer survivor Nandu loses his final battle


Tributes are pouring in for 26-year-old Nandu Mahadeva, who inspired many to fight cancer through the ‘Athijeevanam’ collective. A native of Bharathannur in Thiruvananthapuram district of Kerala, he succumbed to lung cancer in the early hours of Saturday at MVR Cancer Centre and Research Institute, Kozhikode.

Nandu was hugely popular on the social media through his messages telling cancer patients never to lose heart. He was first diagnosed with cancer on an April 1st, three years ago. Nandu had just begun involving in his family’s catering business after completing BBA when the biopsy report came in. Though he was initially taken aback, Nandu decided to fight it out. What began as a swelling on his left leg turned out to be bone cancer, said a media report on him published some time ago.

Nandu began collecting information about cancer from doctors and other sources. What he later wrote on Facebook was liked by over one-and-a-lakh people - “I have cancer. I will not treat this as a terrible disease. Will treat it as common cold.” Despite many people advising against publicising his health condition, Nandu kept on talking about it.

Even after starting radiation therapy at the Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, the pain on left leg became unbearable and it had to be amputated.


Nandu began regularly posting on social media when he was taking rest at home after treatment. He connected with many people who survived cancer and others who were battling the disease. Thus began the collective titled ‘Athijeevanam’, which helps cancer patients across the State. He used to get around a dozen calls a day.

In the meantime, his songs started attracting lakhs of viewers on YouTube. Most of videos went viral. When ‘10-year-challenge’ became popular on social media, he had come with a ‘cancer challenge’. His pictures before and after treatment were shared. Many people took up the challenge.

When reports on his death came in, many took to the social media to offer condolences. They include film-maker Arun Gopy and lyricist Rajeev Alumkal.

Nandu is survived by his father Hari, mother Lekha, and siblings Ananthu and Saikrishna.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 4:17:14 AM |

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