Rarely does a cricketer get applause before a press conference. But then, Yuvraj Singh is neither an average cricketer nor an ordinary fighter. There was a certain calm, grace, patience and dignity all around during the hour-long interaction with the media yesterday.
Cycling legend Lance Armstrong's battle with cancer is well-documented, but cricket too has its stories. The likes of Imran Khan and Glenn McGrath have been involved with a lot of charity work since they lost their mother and wife respectively. Yuvraj has conquered the disease and believes the awareness generated by his battle will help a lot of people.
"Awareness is very important. I want to portray to everyone who have the same illness, that don't be afraid. I was also in denial, I was also afraid; if you have any (health) issue, get it checked. I ignored the coughing which was not the right thing to do. The World Cup was coming up and there was a lot of pressure on us to do well, so there were other issues... but, get yourself checked. Fight it out, be strong. It's not easy. But if I can do it, they can do it too."
Yuvraj's mother Shabnam didn't accompany him to the press conference, but the India all-rounder underlined her role in making him strong. "No one can be like your mother. Any mother will be devastated to learn that her son has cancer, but she is stronger than me. Hats off to her. She took care of me the way she must have done when I was a little kid. Even if I would sneeze at 4 am, she would run for me and would run till the evening," said Yuvraj, recalling his time in America where he underwent chemotherapy.
Another mom in US
Apart from his own mother, there was another mom in the US who inspired him in his fight against cancer. "I drew inspiration from a lady who used to plant flowers and she was very chirpy. She told me that she had blood cancer for the last 10 years. It's amazing how people live their life so positively. I want to tell all Indians - don't be so scared."