HT City


- Juhi Chakrabort­y ■ juhi.chakrabort­

Celebritie­s have a big impact on society and many choose to wield that position to raise awareness about issues. Lisa Ray is one such personalit­y. The modelturne­d-actor and now author has successful­ly battled multiple myeloma, a relatively rare form of blood cancer, and has been since raising awareness about the disease worldwide.

This year, during October — observed as Breast Cancer Awareness month — the 47year-old looks back at her journey from diagnosis to complete recovery, and says, “I feel quite philosophi­cal about my cancer journey, though I’m actively involved in public talks about the experience­s I went through, and advocating wellness and lifestyle changes. But as humans, we live through our stories that we tell ourselves and others.”

People in India, especially women, are very negligent about their health, and that, in most cases, results in delayed detection of cancer. Lisa feels this problem can be solved in two ways — awareness and self-care. “There’s less excuse for lack of awareness, with the internet and conversati­ons around health. But self-care and self-love is more difficult, especially for women in India who are conditione­d to sacrifice and put everyone else’s needs before their own. We need a real awakening to combat this and it’s happening slowly,” she shares.

Lisa has also spoken about her cancer battle in her book, Close to the Bone. Lauding other celebritie­s for coming out with their respective stories, she says, “Regarding awareness, I believe I was the first so-called Indian personalit­y to speak openly about my diagnosis. And since then, so many more wonderful and high-profile people have shared their stories: my friend Manisha (Koirala), Sonali (Bendre), Tahira (Kashyap), Rishi Kapoor. In our film-crazed country this sends out a strong message.”

The actor, last seen in the web series Four More Shots Please!, is gearing up for the second season of the project. She also stars in 99 Songs, written and produced by music maestro AR Rahman, which premiered at this year’s Busan Internatio­nal Film Festival.

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