Fighter and a champion – these two words have been quite generously used to describe the tale of Yuvraj Singh, long before anyone had a hint of the battle he was actually fighting.
Two very different stories simultaneously unfolded for Yuvraj, nearly five years ago. While his on-field heroics at the 2011 World Cup, that went on to end India’s title drought after 28 long years, were widely publicized every morning, not too many knew about the struggle he was going through the previous night just to be able to take field.
Being a sports professional where your career depends on how physically fit you are Yuvraj realised quite early that his body isn’t at hundred percent. What followed next was an ordeal but he, as many from the field of medicine will tell you, was fortunate to have his disease caught at a nascent stage, and then have the best of medical staff and facilities at his disposal.
And Yuvraj understands not many are as lucky.
He won his fight against cancer, and kick started a rather successful second innings, but there is one more enemy he wishes to eradicate. “We are not looking to cure cancer, we’re telling you how to fight it,” says the welcome page of YouWeCan, an initiative of Yuvraj Singh Foundation that aims at spreading awareness, facilitating early detection and fighting the stigma attached with the ‘C’ word.
The capacity to fight something as deadly as cancer comes from within the man and Yuvraj was never the one to give up. “If YouWeCan (Yuvi) can, YOU can,” says Yuvraj in a personal message to his followers.
A changed man after his successful treatment, as many from his field would observe, Yuvraj is leaving no stone unturned in his endeavour to create an environment where cancer is not seen as the end of the world. “I’ve always believed no matter how hard the battle is, whether it is on the field or off it, it can be overcome.”
Determined to not let others surrender to this fatal disease, Yuvraj is aptly using his popularity to reach out to the masses and to those who are either oblivious to some simple preventive measures or unable to afford a diagnosis.
“The first thing is that we want is to open detection centres for cancer. Its very important to get diagnosed early. If you get detected early, half the battle is won.There are a lot of people who can’t afford to come and get tested. We want to help them.”
Yuvraj personally has been actively involved in the activities of YouWeCan. Yuvraj Singh Foundation tied up with his then IPL team, Delhi Daredevils, and Max Hospitals to set up free of cost cancer detection clinics on May 1, 2015 in the National Capital Region.
“We are going to work 24×7 for this charity.” Yuvi meant every word of it when he launched the foundation in a hope to touch as many lives as humanely possible. Yuvraj has invested quite a bit of his off-duty hours to help this initiative gather as much steam as it can – be it getting friends from his professional and personal space to contribute to the campaigns in varying capacities, or having volunteer teams, aided by doctors, reach out as many remote areas of the country as possible to spread the message.
“I couldn’t have done it alone, it was very important that a lot of people stood by me,” says Yuvi, slyly touching upon the psychological stigma attached with the dreaded disease.
The campaign, titled TogetherWeCan, invites financial contributions from the readers to help YSF fund the education of 100 underprivileged kids who have survived cancer, for five years.”Cancer is most powerful enemy & Education most powerful weapon. Lets give the kids their weapon,” says Yuvraj.