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World Cancer Day: The inspiring story of Raaj Kumar Bothra (WATCH)

World Cancer Day: Raaj Kumar Bothra, who overcame ampullary carcinoma, emphasizes that the strength of optimism is a powerful weapon. Let's take a look at the indomitable spirit that has defined his own inspiring journey.

While people were rejoicing in the festival of lights on Diwali day in November 2021, Bengaluru resident Raaj Kumar Bothra faced personal darkness as he received a diagnosis of ampullary carcinoma on that very day. The 67-year-old retired businessman, already grappling with the recent loss of his son to cancer, embarked on a challenging journey of treatment and resilience.

His son, 38-year-old Rishab Bothra, had succumbed to cholangiocarcinoma just 19 months prior in Edinburgh, Scotland. Undeterred by the devastating loss, Raaj Kumar Bothra sought medical guidance from a team of experts at Manipal Hospital Old Airport Road in Bengaluru, including Dr Shabber Zaveri, Dr Nitin Yashas Murthy, and Dr Nagaraj Palankar.

Facing physical and emotional challenges, Bothra underwent Whipple surgery to remove the malignant tumour from the head of the pancreas. The post-surgery period, including chemotherapy, proved to be an arduous ordeal, marked by intense pain and complications leading to significant weight loss. Despite the hardships, Bothra persevered.

Regular PET scans became part of his routine, bringing a glimmer of hope with consecutive normal results. In June 2022, Bothra received the uplifting news of being declared cancer-free, marking a significant victory over the disease.

Bothra's family has a history of battling cancer, with about nine members diagnosed since 1962. His late mother triumphed over breast cancer twice, and a genetic variant of BRCA1 has been identified as a potential contributing factor in the family's cancer struggles.

In the face of adversity, Bothra became the epitome of optimism, channelling his experiences into two books. "Diary of a Roller Coaster" documents the names and stories of family members, including himself and Rishab, who fought against cancer. In "Rishab: A Memoir," he pays a heartfelt tribute to his late son, emphasizing the therapeutic nature of documenting his cancer journey through writing.

In a message to others facing the battle against cancer, Raaj Kumar Bothra emphasizes the strength of optimism as a powerful weapon. He encourages fellow fighters to remain positive and confront challenges with bravery, showcasing the indomitable spirit that has defined his own inspiring journey.