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FROM CANCER TO COURAGE

This Mother Fought Breast Cancer With Everything She Had - And Won!

In the captivating narrative of Farida Rizwan’s life, one might be quick to perceive a carefree 57-year-old woman, a loving mother to her two cherished children, and a picture of contentment. But delve beneath the surface, and you’ll uncover a tale of fortitude, as Farida has waged a tenacious battle against cancer for over two decades.

FROM CANCER TO COURAGE

This Mother Fought Breast Cancer With Everything She Had - And Won!

In the captivating narrative of Farida Rizwan’s life, one might be quick to perceive a carefree 57-year-old woman, a loving mother to her two cherished children, and a picture of contentment. But delve beneath the surface, and you’ll uncover a tale of fortitude, as Farida has waged a tenacious battle against cancer for over two decades.

FROM CANCER TO COURAGE

This Mother Fought Breast Cancer With Everything She Had - And Won!

In the captivating narrative of Farida Rizwan’s life, one might be quick to perceive a carefree 57-year-old woman, a loving mother to her two cherished children, and a picture of contentment. But delve beneath the surface, and you’ll uncover a tale of fortitude, as Farida has waged a tenacious battle against cancer for over two decades.

Written by:

Anoushka Pinto

In 1996, at the tender age of 29, Farida received the life-altering diagnosis of 3rd stage breast cancer. At the time, her beloved daughter, just 11 months old, was already facing the challenges of life with special needs. A pre-university college drop-out with no source of income and lacking the support of her husband, who had chosen a different path in Dubai, Farida was confronted with a daunting reality.

While breastfeeding my 11-month-old, I noticed a lump in my breast. I ignored it at first, but it later turned into a hard, bony structure. With a family history of cancer, my father and sister having battled it, I struggled to accept this diagnosis.

In 1996, at the tender age of 29, Farida received the life-altering diagnosis of 3rd stage breast cancer. At the time, her beloved daughter, just 11 months old, was already facing the challenges of life with special needs. A pre-university college drop-out with no source of income and lacking the support of her husband, who had chosen a different path in Dubai, Farida was confronted with a daunting reality.

While breastfeeding my 11-month-old, I noticed a lump in my breast. I ignored it at first, but it later turned into a hard, bony structure. With a family history of cancer, my father and sister having battled it, I struggled to accept this diagnosis.

Farida with her daughter, Farheena.

When she received the grim news of her diagnosis, Farida’s first instinct was to fight. With a 4-year-old and an 11-month-old baby relying on her, the weight of responsibility pressed heavily on her heart. She couldn’t help but dwell on the thought of who would care for them if she weren’t there. Her family had already been through the throes of this merciless disease. Her father had endured brutal side effects during his treatment, and her sister, haunted by fear, had refused to undergo treatment. Unfortunately, her sister’s condition had worsened without medical intervention.

Refusing to give up, Farida let her inner strength shine, and embarked on a journey of survival, not only for herself but for her children as well, especially her daughter. To the outside world, she may have appeared as a vulnerable woman traveling through the bustling streets of Bangalore. But beneath this facade, was a mother with great determination.

Farida with her daughter, Farheena.

When she received the grim news of her diagnosis, Farida’s first instinct was to fight. With a 4-year-old and an 11-month-old baby relying on her, the weight of responsibility pressed heavily on her heart. She couldn’t help but dwell on the thought of who would care for them if she weren’t there. Her family had already been through the throes of this merciless disease. Her father had endured brutal side effects during his treatment, and her sister, haunted by fear, had refused to undergo treatment. Unfortunately, her sister’s condition had worsened without medical intervention.

Refusing to give up, Farida let her inner strength shine, and embarked on a journey of survival, not only for herself but for her children as well, especially her daughter. To the outside world, she may have appeared as a vulnerable woman traveling through the bustling streets of Bangalore. But beneath this facade, was a mother with great determination.

I travelled around Bangalore in crowded BTS buses with my bald head, carrying my daughter in my arms, and made soft toys to share with the world and sell to retailers and at exhibitions. In the toughest phase of life, my motivation was my daughter. I didn't want to leave my daughter to fight it out alone in this society and wanted to live for her.

I travelled around Bangalore in crowded BTS buses with my bald head, carrying my daughter in my arms, and made soft toys to share with the world and sell to retailers and at exhibitions. In the toughest phase of life, my motivation was my daughter. I didn't want to leave my daughter to fight it out alone in this society and wanted to live for her.

Farida in the 90s.

Twenty days after her diagnosis, she mustered the courage to confront her battle head-on, opting for a successful mastectomy, followed by a rigorous course of chemotherapy. Just as she thought she could finally put the medical crisis behind her, her cancer relapsed only two months later. To make matters worse, this recurrence was followed by the devastating news of her sister losing her battle to the same disease.

Farida faced a challenging period, as her world seemed to fall apart. Nevertheless, driven by her love for her grieving family and her young children, she pressed on with her treatment, regularly enduring chemotherapy and medications. Farida’s indomitable spirit carried her through a five-year battle with cancer. Her victory over the disease brought about a profound transformation within her. 

Farida in the 90s.

Twenty days after her diagnosis, she mustered the courage to confront her battle head-on, opting for a successful mastectomy, followed by a rigorous course of chemotherapy. Just as she thought she could finally put the medical crisis behind her, her cancer relapsed only two months later. To make matters worse, this recurrence was followed by the devastating news of her sister losing her battle to the same disease.

Farida faced a challenging period, as her world seemed to fall apart. Nevertheless, driven by her love for her grieving family and her young children, she pressed on with her treatment, regularly enduring chemotherapy and medications. Farida’s indomitable spirit carried her through a five-year battle with cancer. Her victory over the disease brought about a profound transformation within her. 

When I had cancer and was on the verge of losing my life, I wondered why I came into this world? If I lose my life today, what is my contribution to society? It gave me an insight. I decided to take care of myself and give priority to myself. I decided that I was not going to waste my life. I studied again. I did my MS in counselling. I did many things after cancer that I would not have done otherwise. Cancer was the catalyst that brought out my inner potential. It was a gifted life for me.

When I had cancer and was on the verge of losing my life, I wondered why I came into this world? If I lose my life today, what is my contribution to society? It gave me an insight. I decided to take care of myself and give priority to myself. I decided that I was not going to waste my life. I studied again. I did my MS in counselling. I did many things after cancer that I would not have done otherwise. Cancer was the catalyst that brought out my inner potential. It was a gifted life for me.

Farida with a student at her school, My Giggle Garden.

Her long struggle had also kindled a fire deep within her being, igniting a passion to create a more compassionate world for children like her own and leading her to embark on an extraordinary mission

Driven by her daughter’s uniqueness and motivated to make the world a better place for kids like her, Farida set out to establish a school where every child, regardless of their abilities, would find acceptance and support. For every eight students enrolled, one child with special needs would be welcomed into the fold. The vision was elegantly simple, yet powerful – to foster an inclusive society where each child is treated with respect and equality.

Farida with a student at her school, My Giggle Garden.

Her long struggle had also kindled a fire deep within her being, igniting a passion to create a more compassionate world for children like her own and leading her to embark on an extraordinary mission

Driven by her daughter’s uniqueness and motivated to make the world a better place for kids like her, Farida set out to establish a school where every child, regardless of their abilities, would find acceptance and support. For every eight students enrolled, one child with special needs would be welcomed into the fold. The vision was elegantly simple, yet powerful – to foster an inclusive society where each child is treated with respect and equality.

I made sure I raised my daughter with a lot of dignity and attitude even though I was going through cancer, but I saw a lack of understanding in people while dealing with special kids in society. I decided to start a school where kids with special needs could learn from their peers and gain the confidence to mingle. At the same time, other kids could also learn to respect and treat those differently abled as equals.

I made sure I raised my daughter with a lot of dignity and attitude even though I was going through cancer, but I saw a lack of understanding in people while dealing with special kids in society. I decided to start a school where kids with special needs could learn from their peers and gain the confidence to mingle. At the same time, other kids could also learn to respect and treat those differently abled as equals.

Farida with her students at her school, My Giggle Garden.

With a background in counseling and content writing, Farida put her life savings on the line to bring her dream to fruition. However, as expected with any pioneering endeavor, resistance presented itself. Several parents withdrew their support when children with special needs joined the school, resulting in a sharp decline in admissions. But Farida was determined to keep fighting for her vision to become a reality. She had invested not only her savings but also her heart and soul into it and she was adamant on fighting for it, just as she had conquered cancer.

In 2017, Farida’s vision blossomed into a safe haven where children can learn, and grow, guided by the principles of inclusivity and understanding. ‘My Giggle Garden’ provides comprehensive childcare services that cater to the unique needs of children, offering a secure and stimulating environment where they can flourish. For the children enrolled here, this daycare has become a cherished home filled with laughter and friends, symbolic of Farida’s enduring spirit and her commitment to making a positive impact on their lives.

Over the past two decades, Farida’s journey has been one of self-reflection and gratitude. She cherishes each day as a precious gift, having learned not to take life’s most significant and beautiful aspects for granted. Her powerful will to overcome adversity is a shining example of the rewards that await on the other side of the struggle. 

Farida with her students at her school, My Giggle Garden.

With a background in counseling and content writing, Farida put her life savings on the line to bring her dream to fruition. However, as expected with any pioneering endeavor, resistance presented itself. Several parents withdrew their support when children with special needs joined the school, resulting in a sharp decline in admissions. But Farida was determined to keep fighting for her vision to become a reality. She had invested not only her savings but also her heart and soul into it and she was adamant on fighting for it, just as she had conquered cancer.

In 2017, Farida’s vision blossomed into a safe haven where children can learn, and grow, guided by the principles of inclusivity and understanding. ‘My Giggle Garden’ provides comprehensive childcare services that cater to the unique needs of children, offering a secure and stimulating environment where they can flourish. For the children enrolled here, this daycare has become a cherished home filled with laughter and friends, symbolic of Farida’s enduring spirit and her commitment to making a positive impact on their lives.

Over the past two decades, Farida’s journey has been one of self-reflection and gratitude. She cherishes each day as a precious gift, having learned not to take life’s most significant and beautiful aspects for granted. Her powerful will to overcome adversity is a shining example of the rewards that await on the other side of the struggle. 

Farida with her son, Rayyan.

Today, as she watches her children grow, Farida finds immense pride and happiness in her survival, serving as an inspiring reminder that life’s greatest joys are worth the fight.

Believe in luck but do not depend on it. I had cancer, but I never allowed cancer to have me.

Farida with her son, Rayyan.

Today, as she watches her children grow, Farida finds immense pride and happiness in her survival, serving as an inspiring reminder that life’s greatest joys are worth the fight.

Believe in luck but do not depend on it. I had cancer, but I never allowed cancer to have me.

Share this story with someone who could benefit from this advice or inspiration, especially if they are going through a similar situation.

Share this story with someone who could benefit from this advice or inspiration, especially if they are going through a similar situation.

Written by:

Anoushka Pinto

In times of need, support means everything, and with Milaap, you need not look any further. Milaap enables you to set up a fundraiser for any medical emergency within minutes, and you can easily raise funds for treatment expenses.

 

Do you know someone who could benefit from fundraising? Simply refer them to us and we’ll be happy to lend a hand.


Visit www.milaap.org or call us on +91 9916174848 to get started now.


For more information, write to us at cx@milaap.org.


In times of need, support means everything, and with Milaap, you need not look any further. Milaap enables you to set up a fundraiser for any medical emergency within minutes, and you can easily raise funds for treatment expenses.

 

Do you know someone who could benefit from fundraising? Simply refer them to us and we’ll be happy to lend a hand.


Visit www.milaap.org or call us on +91 9916174848 to get started now.


For more information, write to us at cx@milaap.org.