A BRAVE mother of two with terminal cancer has inspired thousands of people on social media to help the most vulnerable in society, as she faces up to her illness.
Seema Jaya Sharma, who was the face of Cancer Research UK and has previously been in remission, is not asking people to help with their wallets – she would rather they contribute with their actions.
“I don’t want people to raise money in my name. I want them to remember me by helping each other, bringing it back to the basics,” she told Eastern Eye on Tuesday (9), days after celebrating her 38th birthday last weekend.
Sharma, from Ilford, London, was diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago. She beat the illness three times, having endured 10 operations in the process. Last year, the cancer returned and has now spread to her liver, bones, lungs and breast, in addition to seven tumours in her brain.
Doctors have given Sharma weeks to live and said they can’t do anything for her. She has refused any further treatment to extend her life.
The inspirational mum celebrated her birthday with hip-hop group So Solid Crew. She also had dozens of supercars lined up for a new video shoot for her song Alive – which has had over 70,000 hits on YouTube.
Sharma has spent the past few days making arrangements for her funeral and has also prepared a five-minute video to be shown at the service. In addition, she has given away all her clothes.
“The messages I get are unbelievable. I feel honoured. One girl said, ‘I met you for 45 seconds and I’ll never forget you for the rest of my life. If that’s not an angel, I don’t know what is’. That was the most amazing compliment of my life.
“My mum said to me I’m changing people, because I’ve accepted death and am showing people there is nothing to be scared of. We all want to hold on to life for some reason – I do not see it like this. For me, the pain will end. I cannot complain at all.”
Sharma has already explained her condition to her eight-year-old daughter Shanti and 17-year-old son Kalvin.
“My whole objective is that my mum and children are stronger. I’ve talked to my daughter about it and talked to my son about it, they have both accepted it. It hurts my mum. She gets upset because I’m her only child.”
Sharma, who fronted Cancer Research UK’s Breast Cancer Awareness campaign talking about her experiences and has thousands of followers.
She told EE that rather than raising money, the best thing a cancer patient can receive is friendship and help with everyday tasks. It’s one of the reasons why she started the charity Can Mates – a friend finder service for the friends and the family of a cancer patient.
“I’m blessed I’ve got love around me. When most cancer patients go home, they have chemotherapy and they haven’t got the energy to lift something up. They have to look after their children, make food, do school runs.
“With Can Mates, it’s not about raising money. It’s not about raising cancer awareness, it’s about helping each other. If you’ve got someone in your local cancer unit, they need a meal, they need help with a school run. Helping an a elderly person with their groceries, that’s what Can Mates is. You can be a mate and when you do something nice, you feel good.”
Rather than being disillusioned with the research into fighting the disease, Sharma claims a cure for cancer “will never be found because corporations want people to be dependent on medicine”.
“If tomorrow they said they found a cure, how many billions of pounds of industry would collapse and how many people would lose their jobs? The whole world would go upside down,” she said.
“They are not trying to look for a cure. They don’t want you to die, they want you to be in a dependent state and so it’s become a money-making thing.”
As for the legacy that Sharma wants to leave behind - well, it’s all based on helping people, she says.
“If people want to do something for me, make a friend. You have people living alone, elderly people, people who can’t get to the shops for a pint of milk, help them.
“I don’t want to be burden on anyone. I’ve accepted it and I’m fine, I’m ready to embrace the next part of life. I’ve done what I have to do and I’ve had a such a beautiful life. What more can I ask for? I can’t complain about a thing. I’m the luckiest woman alive that I can say I’ve lived a wonderful life.”
For more information about Can Mates, go to http://www.canmates.com