Yuvraj Singh, born 12 December 1981, is an Indian cricketer, and the son of former Indian fast bowler and Punjabi movie star Yograj Singh. He has been a member of the Indian cricket team since 2000 (ODIs) and played his first Test match in 2003. He was the vice-captain of the ODI team from late-2007 to late-2008. He was named the Man of the Tournament in the 2011 Cricket World Cup and was one of the top performers at the 2007 World Twenty20, both of which India won.
Recently Yuvi was diagnosed with cancer. After the 2011 IPL, when Yuvi went to a New Delhi hospital for a check-up… That’s when a tumour in his left lung showed up. But that time it was not clear whether it was malignant or not. Dr Peter Harper, from London, has confirmed the case and suggested he has to undergo chemotherapy as the tumour was sitting on his heart and surgery wasn’t an option. Dr Nitesh Rohatgi, an Oncologist who’d worked in the UK referred the name of Dr. Peter Harper, said Yuvi.
From London, Yuvi said, he went straight to Indianapolis and to Dr Lawrence Einhorn (of the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Centre).
He said chemo is painful… The drugs suppress you and depress you… Look, you can’t go through it alone, you need the ones closest to you by your side… You lose hair, lose your appetite, the taste buds go, you suffer from nausea, the body becomes weak… You experience mood swings… As the cycles go on, your body becomes weaker and weaker.
The three cycles of chemo took two and half months and the last cycle was the toughest, for my body had become so weak. I went through that cycle in hospital. For the first two, I’d stayed at an apartment… After the second cycle, my lung capacity had really gone down and the medicines had to be changed, he said.
What kept me going, he said, is my doctors’ message — that once I’d finished the chemotherapy, I’d walk out of the hospital as a man who never had cancer… Of course, there were more bad days than good, but I’d try and keep myself in a nice frame of mind… I had to go through it all to be alive.
To keep his mind off the chemo during those five days in hospital, he said, he played a prank on a friend, Paroon Chadha, who lives in the US… Watched Bend It Like Beckham… Look, I had to motivate myself, I had to stay positive, he added.
While in Indianapolis, Armstrong sent me gifts… He sent a memo-pad, sent a recorded message… The way he beat (testicular) cancer is fascinating… For me, he’s a hero, Yuvi said.
Yuvi’s message to those fighting cancer:
Don’t be scared… Be positive… Please don’t think that your life is about to end… Take the right advice and act as soon as you can… If there’s an issue in your system, don’t ignore it… Look at me, I never thought I’d get the chance to again play for India, but I’ve beaten cancer… God has given me this opportunity and my love for cricket has brought me back. I see this alone as a huge achievement… The experience has made me stronger (in the mind)… If you’re strong, then you automatically become a positive person. Cancer doesn’t mean that you’re going to die.
Yuvi seems to be passionate about forming a foundation to spread awareness about cancer and he hopes to raise big funds like Livestrong Foundation does.
Just like Yuvraj Singh there are others who have been equally brave and courageous.
The following are some of the other sportsmen who have made a successful comeback from cancer:
Josh Bidwell: In 1999, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. After treatment he made a successful comeback .
Jon Lester: An American professional player, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a treatable cancer, in the middle of the season in 2006. In 2007, following a successful treatment, Lester was able to return to the game.
Mike Lowell: An American professional baseball player, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1999, causing him to miss nearly two months of the 1999 season while he underwent treatment. However, he later recovered and went on to play the sport as a professional.
Dave Callaghan: The former South African cricketer was diagnosed with cancer in September 1991. Just after recovering from testicular cancer, he made 169 off 143 balls and hit four sixes, while opening the batting. He also took his career-best figures of 3 for 32 and was the obvious choice for Man of the Match vs New Zealand in 1994 at Centurion. He now uses his celebrity status to promotecancer awareness.
Lance Armstrong: He was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1996. After going through chemotherapy, he recovered to win all his seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005. The US Anti-Doping Agency later initiated legal proceedings over allegations of doping. Last month, Armstrong announced he won’t fight the charges, insisting he’s innocent.
Scott Hamilton: He is in the Hall of Fame, and one of the most iconic figure skaters in history. He is also a cancer survivor, and runs his own charity. He was diagnosed at the height of his career in 1997 with testicular cancer. After a 12-week treatment, he was back in action.
Paul Azinger: In 1993, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. His treatment included six months of chemotherapy and five weeks of radiation in California. He continued to be active in golf despite the physical handicap or serious illness.
John Cullen: A former Canadian professional ice hockey centre forward, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 1997. He attempted a brief comeback in 1998 after an 18-month battle with the disease.
Mario Lemieux: A Canadian former professional player, he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1993. He missed two months of play, but soon made a comeback.
Saku Koivu: The Finnish professional was diagnosed of cancer in 2001. But soon made a comeback by the end of the season.
Eric Shanteau: He was diagnosed with testicular cancer, just before 2008 Beijing Olympics. He underwent treatment and was officially declared cancer free on September 15, 2008 and jumped straight back into the pool. He was a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team, and clinched the gold as part of 4×100-meter medley relay team in London.
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