When human beings experience trauma or a severe life experience, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel. Samara Mahindra, however, chose an opposite path. She has embarked on a journey to bring healing to people who are undergoing a traumatic experience – cancer.
Samara is passionate about bringing a change in the way people perceive health and the way healthcare is administered around the world and more so in India. With CARER Program, her social enterprise, Samara is getting a holistic and a therapeutic approach to cancer treatment in the form of personalized Nutrition, Yoga, Meditation, Coaching, and Counselling.
With the team of over 100 specialists in India, she is now on a journey to provide affordable holistic therapies into every cancer patient’s home leveraging technology and human resource. Samara has been on multiple public platforms, a TEDx speaker and is consciously spreading knowledge and awareness about cancer. She has now begun launching and establishing the CARER Program in India and globally.
Here’s an excerpt from our conversation with Samara Mahindra:
Tell us about your journey, Samara. How did CARER come into existence?
Samara – CARER came into existence from a personal encounter with cancer. My mother was diagnosed with the disease and lost her life 6 years later. During the time, I noticed the major lack in cancer care and the problems that we faced as family members and her as a patient. The system or treatment and healing is broken and I wanted to fix it.
Soon after losing my mother, I dove into healthcare, almost learning medicine from scratch. I was credited in multiple areas related to holistic health and cancer rehabilitation. I was exposed to Integrative Oncology, which is using holistic therapies along with medical treatment to treat a patient as a “whole”. I decided to bring the concept to India and worked on filling the void that exists here today. CARER is the fruition of my learning and the endeavor to change the course of treatment and healing of cancer and chronic diseases.
How has working with patients and cancer been, how has it changed you as a person?
Samara – Absolutely! Working with patients has been the biggest gift of this entire journey. Even though we are a for-profit social enterprise, nothing feels as good and liberating than having your patients heal and recover from cancer effectively. Additionally and most importantly, it has taught me how to appreciate every moment of life and be grateful for what I have. I was a very cautious person earlier and today I learn to live every moment fully and this is all thanks to the people I work with.
Could you share a perspective on the role of coaching and counseling in cancer care?
Samara – Unfortunately counseling has the wrong perspective here in India. People believe it’s for those who are mentally unstable and hence don’t like to categorize themselves in that segment. Which encouraged us to change our approach to coaching, where our coaches focus on strategies to help the patient and family members move ahead in their healing journey. Coaching is more of a support system that guides you to take the appropriate steps by setting goals for yourself. It has been extremely beneficial and helpful for our patients so far.
Tell us about your biggest inspirations that have got you where you are today
Samara – My mother has been a pretty big inspiration for me. She was what you would classify as a woman entrepreneur who shattered all norms and conventions and created her own destiny. She wasn’t fearful of dreaming and doing whatever it takes to make it come true. I try to live like that every day.
What would have Samara been if not a social entrepreneur?
Samara – Athlete, if I got the chance.
Do you have a message young girls and readers?
Samara – Don’t fear to dream and dream big, so big that everyone around you thinks you’re deluded and when that happens, that’s your green signal to jump right in and do it.
Samara is a certified Cancer Exercise Specialist and Breast Cancer Recovery Trainer. She is also a qualified personal fitness trainer from the American Academy of Personal Training, New York, Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and certified in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University and the T. Colin Campbell Foundation. Samara then went a step further and was certified as a Holistic Cancer Coach from Beatcancer.org, Center for Advancement in Cancer Education.
“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it come true” – Samara Mahindra