28-Year-Old Cancer Survivor Inspires Others with ‘Bold Indian Bride’ Photoshoot

March 23, 2019 Updated: March 27, 2019

Cancer is a devastating disease, and never more so than when it strikes a young woman in the prime of her life. This girl is inspiring thousands of sufferers with her positive attitude and zest for life. Cancer taught her a valuable lesson—to love life.

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Bài viết do Navi Indran Pillai (@naviindranpillai) chia sẻ vào

Vaishnavi Indran Pillai, best known as Navi on her Instagram, knows what it’s like to fight for your life. At 28, the Indian fashion model, from Shah Alam in Malaysia, has undergone chemotherapy as well as other bouts of treatment for metastatic breast cancer that was first diagnosed five years ago. At that time, she was in the prime of her life, fresh out of university, and ready to make her mark in the world.

“I was 22,” Navi told MSN. “I didn’t know what cancer meant. Was I going to die?”

“I just wanted to get treated and get on with my life. I wanted to live a normal life like my friends.”

She was declared cancer-free in 2015 after she survived a round of chemotherapy. Unfortunately, in July 2018, an annual checkup revealed that nodules had appeared on her liver and spine—the cancer had returned.

“You beat it once and then for it to come back again, it wasn’t so much of a shock of the first time but it was more of a disappointment feeling because it came back the second time,” she said on Millenials of Kuala Lumpur.

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Bài viết do Navi Indran Pillai (@naviindranpillai) chia sẻ vào

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Bài viết do Navi Indran Pillai (@naviindranpillai) chia sẻ vào

Severe side effects from a total of six courses of chemo were tough. Losing her hair was one side effect, and something very difficult for her to come to terms with. “I’d just build my life up again and so it felt like another bomb had dropped. Why did it come back? I started to blame myself. What did I do wrong? I cried. A lot,” she said.

“I was lost, and went through a period of depression. But somehow I found the strength to fight. I think in our darkest moments, we find that inner strength that is within us,” Navi added.

She then made the decision to share her journey on Instagram and soon had more than 15,000 followers, with many inspired by her positivity. “Maybe this was my purpose. I have always wanted to do something to help others, and this was my opportunity. You don’t really understand what it’s like unless you’ve been through it. I can be that support for others. I was going to look at this positively and support others,” she said.

Her recent photo series titled “Bold Indian Bride” has inspired thousands. With her bewitching beauty, she demonstrated that with or without hair, women can indeed look and feel beautiful. The photographs depict Navi as an Indian bride, and were taken by photographer Celes Gerard. It wasn’t long before they went viral on Instagram, and it’s not hard to see why.

Navi wanted to empower women with her photo shoots and shared on her Instagram: “Cancer treatments have given us a lot of limitations, robbed us of beauty and taken away our confidence. As little girls, we have always dreamt of what our big day will be like and how we would look like as a bride. But having cancer has stripped some of us from fulfilling these dreams. A lot of cancer survivors have postponed or even canceled their big day.”

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Bài viết do Navi Indran Pillai (@naviindranpillai) chia sẻ vào

Navi said she is thankful to have learned to appreciate life through her journey, and hopes to inspire others. “As a cancer survivor, I dreamt of the day I would marry the love of my life. Dreamt what it is like to look like a bride, to feel like a bride. Having gone through cancer treatments (chemotherapy, etc.), losing my hair was by far the hardest thing I ever had to go through,” she said.

“I felt that I was not beautiful enough to be loved and not beautiful enough to look or ever feel like a bride. Hair, is our ‘crowning glory’ and having that taken away is devastating. But we choose to accept what we have, appreciate what we are and welcome what is coming,” said Navi on Instagram.

“Believe we can, believe in God and believe in yourself. Love yourself and surround yourself with positivity and everything will fall into place.”

With such a positive outlook and great attitude towards life, Navi is sure to motivate others going through cancer treatments, or any other suffering, and inspire them to look forward to the future with hope.

Photography: celesgrd Assisted by: shiva

Bangles & Bridal Anklet : desirec.my

Silk Saree & Bridal Veil : pattushastra

Make-up & Styling : blushbeautybeyond

Assisted by : emmanuel_ravi98

Henna: bdazzled_beauty


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