Sometimes, various people in the same family are affected by serious diseases like cancer. When a family member is fighting against disease, their strength and perseverance can be enough to inspire a healthier way of living. For Ani, who has lived through the treatments of two close family members, eating healthily and doing exercise are big factors in fighting against and preventing cancer. This is why this year, she is the #GetFit Ambassador for Indonesia, raising awareness about the benefits of healthy living and how it can affect the outcome against disease.
Please share with us your experience with cancer. How has cancer affected you and your family?
I lost my sister due to breast cancer; she passed away at age 39 leaving her beloved 4 young children, husband and all the rest of her family: 7 siblings and parents. If we knew how to manage the treatment better, we might be able to save her life.
We’ve heard your aunt has a powerful story about healthy living because of her cancer diagnosis. Can you share that story?
My aunt has gone through different treatments since 1994, some were very painful, but still the cancer wouldn’t go away. Her last chemotherapy was done about 5 years ago when the doctor the doctor gave up and would not do any treatment any longer since it would affect her negatively. We all thought we were going to lose her, but through doctor’s advice and community support, she began a healthier life to combat cancer. It did work well!
What motivated your aunt to get healthy?
She loves her family so much and she wants to see her grandchildren to grow up.
What sport or activity does your aunt use to be healthy?
She walks every day for 3 km at least, and swims regularly. She also eats a lot of vegetables and fruits, no preserved food, and very limited meats.
How did this activity help your aunt through her treatment?
The healthy food and sport give her strength day after day to live with a normal routine; she is now able to travel to see her children and grandchildren in Australia and even to see her brother who lives in Canada.
What did your family learn most from your aunt’s experience?
Having a healthy lifestyle (body and spirit) is key to keep us healthy and balanced.
Why do you think healthy living is so important, especially as someone whose family has been affected by cancer?
Losing one person you love is more than enough; we learned a good lesson from it: we don’t want to see our beloved family is taken away because of cancer. Healthy living is one important aspect to prevent it. We learned each other’s’ experience. We should stop having bad habits and embrace the good things that we can learn from.
What do you do to stay healthy?
To keep me healthy, the first thing I eat every morning is fruit and vegetables. I almost never eat preserved food any longer. I prefer slow cooked food than fast food. I choose healthy food.
I also exercise regularly; I walk as much as I can. I don’t smoke. I always try to balance between healthy body, healthy mind and healthy soul (to do this for example, if work is getting too stressful, I just stop working for a while, do yoga, stop doing anything… meditate, however, it needs discipline and commitment to do this especially if the work situation is pressing and we have a lot of deadlines).
In your opinion, why is leading a healthy lifestyle so important in the fight to prevent cancer?
From the literature that I read, and also from my own experience, having a healthy lifestyle is proven key to fighting or preventing cancer. I think this is not a choice; we must commit to have a healthy lifestyle to prevent cancer and other diseases.
What would you say to the global community to encourage them to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
Healthy lifestyle needs commitment; everyone has the choice to live a healthy life! Don’t let cancer take away your and your love ones’ lives!