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Spirit of Survival – Mumbai Portrait Photographer

A relatively new dream for the 36-year-old runner, whose only goal, not so long ago, was to just survive. Having fought a long, painful but ultimately successful battle with cancer, Mumbai-based Sam said he wanted the running community to draw inspiration from his story.

“It started with a persistent cough in 2007, which didn’t go away for nine months. . I used to have night sweats and visible weight loss but I attributed it to my niece’s illness and stress.” says Samuel. With his condition deteriorating, he visited an ENT specialist who found a lump below his right ear. A test and a visit to an oncologist revealed Sam had three lumps on the right side of his neck and one under his right arm.
The news crippled me when the doctors confirmed that I had cancer called Hodgkin’s lymphoma and that I was in stage 4B since it had reached the bone marrow. Sam began 12 chemotherapy cycles to be completed in six months and soon after six months of treatment and a lot of courage and hope, he was cured.

Post this episode in his life he started living a normal life but an unhealthy one. He gained a lot of weight and tipped the scales at 86-kg. “It still didn’t bother me until one day in December 2012, he realized that he couldn’t bend to tie his shoelaces. That’s when it struck to him that this was not a good sign and decided to lose some weight.

On one fine morning, inspired by his friend, started running. He started slowly and worked his way to complete 10km. With rigorous practice and right diet, his weight dropped from 86kg to 69kg. Since then he has been running marathons and spreading the awareness about the disease. “I was lucky because apart from cancer, I had no other major worries at the time. I want to spread awareness about this disease and hope my story offers hope, inspiration and support to people who share it” says Samuel while tying his laces.

I had a privilege to shoot some portraits of an interesting personality. This was something new and complete new experience of shooting an athlete and marathon runner which I seldom shoot after having a long stint in Wedding Photography.

Thank you Samuel for inspiring all young souls like me to rise up and steer ahead from challenges. He reminded me of famous quote –

Falling down is part of our life, Getting back up is Living !!!

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