February 23, 2019: As a tribute to Baba Hardev Singh Ji, the Sant Nirankari Mission partnered with Susan B. Komen, Chicago, and the American Cancer Society to bring awareness to our communities about cancer. The Pramkukh of SNM Chicago, Dr. Jyoti Kalra opened the event welcoming and thanking the 100+ attendees. The first speaker was U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamurthi, who prefaced the event with how cancer does not discriminate, and that we must work together to create awareness and enable ourselves to raise funds to help find a cure. He concluded by sharing: "Yesterday is a history, tomorrow is the future and today is a gift - lets make the most of today."
Following the congressman, two cancer survivors from the American Cancer Society presented on their own experiences as well as the history of the organization. They elaborated on the statistics that surround individuals impacted by cancer as well as the several types of cancer that exist and the several measures and steps that can be taken to help understand the symptoms an the steps to diagnosis and healing. More than anything, they focused on how healing it can be for those with cancer to have a genuine support system - a place of which they feel no different from their peers. One of the survivors, Jamie, was diagnosed when she 14 years old and now dedicates her life to bringing awareness to youth everywhere. A community exists where there can be shared experiences and healing.
Our next speaker, Doctor Pundaleeka ( Oncologist), shared a medical perspective of an oncologist who treats cancer patients. He focused on the different types of cancer, age groups, and genders. He described measures for early detection, signs and symptoms of the various cancers that we should be aware of and seek medical attention immediately. He also focused on fact that with early detection more cures are possible. He continued by offering guidance with insurance and diagnostic tools available for early detection. He described spread of cancer in the body and its impact. Dr. Sahib made a point to discuss early signs with physician and do the necessary for a chance for cure.
Documentary showing all the charitable work that Sant Nirankari Mission does in India, USA and other parts of the world to help heal, enrich and empower, was also shown and was highly appreciated by the audience.
Dr. Harpeet Singh Ji reviewed the impacts of nutrition, diets and the process of its impact on our bodies and health. He discussed intermittent fasting and the benefits of sustaining a healthy diet and exercise. The representative from the Susan B. Komen organization was also a cancer survivor and discussed her journey - and the reason for sharing experiences.
Jana Geyer, the final speaker of the day, created the #CheckYourself movement after being diagnosed with breast cancer at 32 years old. She discussed the importance of checking and trusting our bodies when there are signs and signals like the lump she noticed while hugging her husband before he left for the office. Although screenings like
mammograms may not be made available to age groups under 40, she underscored it is important to seek more guidance from others when the body is providing such indication.
Overall, the event focused on the importance of awareness of this deadly disease. Through awareness comes knowledge, and through knowledge comes prevention. While we all come from different walks of life and our journeys will vary, these shouldn’t be things that separate us but rather unite us through shared experiences.