A district girl conquers cancer and crown at a beauty pageant

Report by: 
Debanjan Mukherjee
10 May 2017

In 2015 on the morning of February 5 when 17-year-old Aindrila Sharma, a resident of Baharampur in Murshidabad district was preparing for her birthday bash, she felt an excruciating pain in her stomach and on examination it was found to be a tumour. Her physician father Uttam Sharma brought her to AIIMS Delhi where she underwent several tests and later had to go through a long regimen that included 16 chemotherapy and 33 radiation sessions.

The young girl, who had a dream of becoming a film actor and has already participated and snagged laurels at a few district beauty contests, lost tremendous weight and almost her entire mop of hair, but not the spirit to fight back. She instead launched a grim battle, not only against the dreaded disease but also to carry on with the pursuit of her dream to make a mark in tinsel world. The persistence and the efforts paid dividends. Last Sunday, on May 7, the feisty girl snagged the championship at Malda FB SriSundari fashion show organised at the College Auditorium there beating 29 other finalists. And the girl, who has recovered from the malady---she has to visit AIIMS every six months for a check-up--is waiting for the results of her Class XII examinations. She is also getting modelling contracts.

"It was February 5, 2015 and it was my birthday. Suddenly I felt pain in the stomach. My father is a general physician. He checked and felt a hard mass in my abdominal region. He did not wait a minute and took me to the local healthcare centre. After blood test, CT Scan and USG, the doctors said it was a big tumour. My father took me to Delhi the very next day.  At AIIMS there, it was found to be Pnet cancer, a rare type of cancer that originates from bone marrow," the girl, who stays with her parents and elder sister at Baharampur, told Echo Of India. But neither the girl nor her family gave up. ``I was shattered. I thought all was over. But then I thought why not give it a fight? What about my participating at various beauty pageants at the districts? What about my dream of making it to the tinsel world? I took a vow, to fight to the finish,'' Aindrila, a student of Maharani Kashishwari Mahavidyalaya in Murshidabad, said. It took 16 chemotherapy and 33 radiation sessions for Aindrila to get rid of the malignant effect of the tumour and her fight continued for over two years.

Though she is out of risk today, Aindrila has to travel to Delhi once in every six months for check up. A few days after recovery the plucky girl got to know about SriSundori through Facebook. "I needed a platform to prove to myself that cancer has not been able to make any harm to my body and spirit. Hence my decision to participate in this show," the girl said.  For her triumph at the beauty contest, Aindrila wishes to thank not only her parents but also Dr P K Julkha of AIIMS, whose treatment brought her back to normal life. Prantik Dey, organiser of FB SriSundari, said no sympathy factor worked in favour of the girl. "She was way ahead of the other female participants. Be it beauty, intelligence or attitude, Aindrila looked like a true champion from the initial rounds", Prantik said.