Breaking all odds, 13-year-old Kayaan Anklesaria, was declared top athlete at the World Children’s Winners Games 2017 – a programme where young cancer survivors compete internationally in a series of sports. Kayaan had been diagnosed with brain tumour at the age of eleven. Having to undergo a series of chemotherapy sessions, radiation and surgery, Kayaan, a trained athlete, however, began to feel physically weak which affected his spirit and confidence. Not giving in to his situation, with the encouragement of Ameeta Bhatia, a social worker at Tata Memorial Hospital, Kayaan started training to participate at World Childrens Winner Games to be held in Moscow.
Over 500 children from 16 countries participated in a series of events, with 14 children representing India. Kayaan’s spectacular performance won him a gold medal in table tennis, a silver medal in chess, and a bronze each in rifle shooting and football. “My heart was bursting with pride when Kayaan stood on the victory podium holding the Indian flag. It was God’s grace that he won the highest medal tally (4 out of 5 events) and was declared ‘Champion of Winner Games’. He was chosen to do the closing ceremony of this grand event,” gushes Kayaan’s mother, Shernaz Anklesaria.
Crediting his mentor and BPP athletic coach, Dara Dumasia for training since before his illness, Kayaan put in loads of hard work and determination to achieve this. Proud of his strong willed patient, Oncologist, Dr. Girish Chinnaswamy (Pediatric Oncology), who treated Kayaan, said, “It has been a real pleasure taking care of Kayaan who has been an inspiration to many of us. Kayan underwent aggressive treatment for his brain tumour and put up with all the treatment with a smiling face and coped remarkably well. Once he finished treatment he was very enthusiastic to get back to normal life and put the ordeal of having undergone the treatment behind him and did so very quickly. Sports was always his passion and when the call came for the winner’s game in Moscow- Kayaan was an obvious choice. And as expected he came out as the champion of the international meet.”