Mother-of-two is inspiration for Asian community
BRAVE Jayshree Jhala has not only survived breast cancer, but is giving thanks by appearing on national television as part of Cancer Research UK’s new advertising campaign.
Jayshree, 73, was diagnosed with breast cancer following a mammogram when she was 69. The mother-of-two chose to have a mastectomy and then chemotherapy following detection of the grade 2 tumour.
She was devastated to lose her long hair, which has now grown back, but is now doing well and is keen to promote cancer awareness in the Asian community.
Speaking to The Asian Today Jayshree said she was “delighted” to be part of the advert.
“When Cancer Research UK approached me to be in the advert, I was extremely pleased and excited,” Jayshree said. “I am very proactive in getting the message across to as many people as possible and this was an opportunity to do just that.”
Jayshree hopes her appearance on the advert will encourage Asian women to get cancer screenings.
“I feel that women in the Asian community are very reserved when it comes to this matter and look upon it as a taboo subject, so from my appearance on the advert, I hope that they will take a positive attitude and not be frightened to go and see the specialists,” she said. “I would like to feel that I have and will make an impact into the Asian Community by making them aware of Cancer and Cancer Research UK.”
Jayshree’s own cancer battle was far from easy. After she was diagnosed Jayshree believed she was going to die, but brilliant support from husband Govind and her son and daughter helped her fight through her battle.
Despite himself suffering from terminal cancer, Govind tended to his wife of 51 years day and night.
“He really was my tower of strength,” Jayshree said. “He forgot about his illness and looked after me.”
Jayshree’s daughter, who emigrated to Canada seven years ago with her husband and two sons, packed in her job and flew back to the UK to tend to Jayshree. While her son and daughter-in-law were “very supportive” during Jayshree’s time of need.
“My family really encouraged me to be and think positive as I believed I was going to die,” Jayshree said. “When I lost my hair, they made me feel good by telling me my hair would come back and also got me to wear a wig, and hats to make me look smart at all times. With their support and that of my friends, I started going out and decided that I would fight this cancer and win my battle.”
During her cancer battle Jayshree also continued working part time for her local NHS as a Community Food Advisor for the Asian community. And it was here where she found support from those she advised on a day to day basis.
“Many of the women I taught were Muslim, Bengali, Hindu, Christians, and Punjabi and were from all the different religions and they all prayed for me during my worst time.”
Since the advert was televised Jayshree has found herself using her experience to reach out to the Asian community.
She has appeared on the Asian Health Show for Sony TV to share her story and to encourage Asian people to talk about health issues. As a result Jayshree has had calls from as far away as Canada from women who were inspired to go for screening after seeing her on the programme.
“A lot of people I know have seen the advert and then come and tell me and ring me to say they saw me on TV. It’s a nice feeling but as long as the message is being delivered that is the main issue.”
You can watch the Cancer Research Advert HERE