We are busy with our daily lives and our own problem that at times, we become pretty parochial in our outlook. And its times like these when we need a wake up call. A call to make us realize that there are people who are fighting with much bigger problems than ours everyday and successfully grabbing a fresh lease of life every moment. Stories which inspire us, people who make us look up to them with awe and respect.

Such is the story of Ms NANDINI MANDAL. Founder and artistic director of NANDANIK DANCE ACADEMY AND TROUPE . Cancer Survivor. Super Mom. But how I remember her is the Teacher with the prettiest of smiles . Yes, I am talking about my teacher,who has proved to be a role model, beyond the class room.

I love to dance so when my school announced they they would be offering dance classes, I was clearly excited. Unlike, most other Bengali girls growing up in West Bengal(India), I had not attended the customary Indian music and dance classes. But the thought of learning it in school with my classmates sounded exciting. And who can forget that beautiful lady whose dance movements are still to die for. MISS NANDINI .

Year later, as I was browsing one day in Facebook , I came across her profile. I was not too sure if she at all remembered me, as before I had graduated high school, I remembered, that she had made US her home. And years later, I had mad the same country my home. And when she accepted my friendship request, I sought to go through her pictures to see what all I had missed out from my teacher's life. As the years unfolded in front of me, through her pictures and notes, I realized how she had battled a deadly disease. How she continued to dance. How she continued to inspire us. How she continued to smile her signature smile. Who can forget that special smile !!!

Miss Nandini has completed six years in Cancer Remission. She is a ACUTE MYLOGENOUS LEUKEMIA SURVIVOR.  A rockstar for us for sure. A role model we look unto every single day. As she narrates in her own words, that she wasn't sure whether she would be around to see her elder daughter go to college. But advances in medical science and her sheer grit and determination , saw her , be there for her daughter as she headed off for college a few weeks back. As I was casually asking for her email and discussing this post, she mentions that she is home today, but has a transfusion tomorrow. Yes, the battle continues. And she continues it with her signature grit, determination and that killer smile.

After a successful stem cell transplant from a donor who prefers to remain anonymous, Miss Nandini decided to lend a helping hand to the numerous others battling this deadly disease. Every year, she walks for two miles, with her family, on LIGHT THE NIGHT WALK, held by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, held on the first Thursday of October. She was raised over $7000 in the last 4 years. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society funds the research which save so many lives every day.

This year she came up with a different plan. Rather than a walk, Miss Nandini shall be hosting a unique FUNDRAISER for the cause. She has designed and will be directing an evening of Indian Dance extravaganza in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Aptly titled DANCE FOR CURE. Perfect for a dancer, a teacher and a choreographer par excellence.

Its a part of the LIGHT THE NIGHT WALK TO END CANCER organized by the LEUKEMIA AND LYPHOMA SOCIETY. September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Her fundraising show is scheduled for September 26th 2015.

DANCE FOR CURE shall feature a montage of Indian Classical dances performed by NANDANIK DANCE ACADEMY AND TROUPE, U-Pitt's Nrityamala and PaantheRaas and Steel Bhangra. The show will feature Indian Classical, Folk, Contemporary and Bollywood dances. All the money collected hall be donated to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society after covering the stage and AV expenses . Tickets can be booked in advance or at the venue.

The show is scheduled to be held at :
Eddy Theater
Chatham College
5 to 7 pm.

In case you can't make it to the show, you can donate through her FRIENDS OF NANDINI PAGE at the LLS Website.

So lets spread the word and make Miss Nandini's Fundraising event a success.

All the pictures used in this post, have been sourced by the various pages owned by MISS NANDINI MANDAL.





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