Life is like a remote control and you just have two options, either play or pause. And there is one option that is out of your control — stop. When life stops for someone you love, it breaks you into pieces making it painful to fill the void. However, after sometime, you gather the courage to stand up again and move forward, not in the same pace, but you still dwell in it, slowly and gradually.
We still do not talk about pain and loss, and how hard they are to deal with. And when it comes to a disease, especially cancer, it is considered the end of the world.
Samara Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra Group Anand Mahindra’s first cousin, quit her billionaire legacy to bring about a change. Today, she is saving lives of many cancer patients through her non-profit social wellness organization Cancer Recovery and Rehabilitation (CARER).
When Samara was three-year-old, she lost her father. Since then, her life was nothing except for one person, her mother. Samara idolized her mother who went against the norms, stood on her ground to be independent, and built a successful business. Suddenly one day, everything turned upside down when her mother was diagnosed with cancer.
After going through treatment for several years, her mother succumbed to the disease. The incident shook Samara and she realized many things that lack in cancer care in India. Coming from a billionaire family of business dynasty, she had an interest in health and wellness. She decided to start her own sportswear label in India but something was missing for her. Samara did not want to build a successful label, but to get in the realm of health and fitness.
Samara went to the American Academy of Personal Training in New York. She had developed a special interest in cancer as a part of movement therapy for special populations. She became a cancer exercise specialist and breast cancer recovery trainer, and started hosting dance therapy sessions at a non-profit organization to rehabilitate the cancer patients. She realized that they were getting better.
It was difficult for Samara to accept that her mother lost her life because of less exposure about the disease in India. In New York, Samara saw that the cancer patients were not just being treated medically but also holistically. The fact that her mother did not get holistic attention was eating up her mind. One day, while looking at herself in the mirror, she decided to do something about it. She decided to bring the holistic approach to India.
Bringing the treatment to India was not an easy task but Samara wanted to change things at any cost. She started it at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai and later, started CARER program to give the cancer patients much more than just medical treatment at an affordable cost. CARER aims at providing holistic therapy, building immunity, and preventing the chances of relapsing. It includes services like personalized diet and nutrition, yoga therapy, coaching and support for the patients and their family members.
“When I see people getting better, it gives me hope, it heals a part of me.”
Being the only such organization in India, CARER eliminates the lack of knowledge among people about the disease. They help people understand cancer and the reason it is in the system, making them realize that it is in their control and can be cured.
Today, CARER is saving so many lives by offering quality healthcare to cancer patients and survivors. They are working with ways to eliminate the root cause of the disease. They have tied-up with hospitals and oncologists who tell their patients about the program. They also contact the patients directly after getting request on social media.
Samara feels grateful for all the love she receives but for her, it is a selfish endeavor as well. “I do it for my selfish reasons. When I lost my mother to cancer, unfortunately, I knew quite a few people who were diagnosed with it or were losing their lives to it.”
Samara has saved and restored hope.in many lives. She has shown them sunshine and made them understand that there is nothing incurable and you just need to have the right approach. She quit her billion legacy to give a new life to so many people out there.