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Running Helped Me Fight Cancer: Samuel Chettiar

Life has given cancer survivor Samuel Chettiar a second chance after he was detected with Hodgkin Lymphoma (Stage 4) in 2008. And Chettiar, who will be participating in this Sunday’s Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon (half marathon), credits his recovery to distance running.

In 2008 Chettiar consulted an ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist after suffering from persistent cough and weight loss across nine months. The doctor found a lump below his right ear and asked him to undergo some tests.

The doctors later found three lumps in his neck and one under his right arm. Chettiar underwent 12 intense chemotherapy sessions across six months as the tumours were dealt with. “Thanks to my wife Annie’s relentless support, I survived those trying times,” he said.

After the treatment (in 2009), Chettiar began leading a normal life but gained a lot of weight. “One day (December, 2012), I realised that I just could not bend to tie my shoe laces.

That’s when I decided that I had to lose weight and my colleague Ravikant Malan introduced me to running last year. He told me that he ran 10 km twice a week. Inspired by him, I started running and in 100 days I lost 17 kg. Running has now become my passion.

Samuel Chettiar on one of his morning runs

I start my day with a run and this gives me energy to go through the whole day. Besides, it keeps my mind fresh and positive,” explained the 37-year-old Schneider Electric employee.

Chettiar, who runs an average 30 km a week, says running has helped him fight the cancer lumps that threatened to re-appear.

“Since 2009, I have been visiting the doctor for regular check-ups. I am in a state of remission — currently no cancer — but there is always the chance of recurrence.

Earlier whenever I visited the doctor for my tests (once every three to six months), I would worry about the reports. But now, I am confident that my results are going to be clear. Thanks to running, my cholesterol levels and blood pressure are normal too,” he explained.

The Malad resident is confident of completing the 21.09 km race on Sunday in under two hours. “I finished the Bangalore Marathon (10 km race) last year in an hour and three minutes. Then I did the Vasai-Virar half marathon in 2 hours 20 minutes.

This time, I am confident of finishing the race in less than 2 hours,” said Chettiar, who will be wearing a t-shirt that reads: ‘I won the race against cancer but I’m still running.’

“I hope I can inspire some cancer patients with this message,” said Chettiar, who has also registered for the Paris Marathon in April.

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