A real life experience of a Kerala Lady who recovered from cancer ……
This is an inspiring story from Kerala in the district of Kozhikode. Sigi Jafer, a house wife from Pathimangalam, a small town in Kozhikode district shares her real life experience, and explains her dramatic recovery from cancer, with her passion to football and with the love and care she received from football community.
Her story is written by a sports Journalist Sri. Prasad V Haridasan, who is the Chairman and Coach of Kerala Football Training Centre ( KFTC), Kozhikode. The original script in Malayalam uses Kozhikode based colocial Malayalam language and is written in a heart touching way. The story is presented as a narration by Smt. Sigi Jafer. The story is described below:
My name is Sigi Jafer Thodukayil. The name represents three parts viz; Sigi – myself, Jafer – my husband’s name, and Thodukayil – name of my house. I am an ordinary house wife. Myself, my husband and three children named Jasim (14 years), Janna, and Pathu, all live in our house at Pathimangalam, a small town near Kunnamangalam, in Kozhikode District.
I was born and brought up in Anayamkunnu near Mukkam, a beautiful village with a lot of greenery and hills and also birth land of Moideen, a well known character of a great love story.
My father – Muhammed and mother – Jameela had two daughters and I am the elder one and have a younger sister Simi. Both of us reside in the same place in separate houses. Pathimangalm is the native place of my husband.
Life went on smoothly and we were living a very happy and joyous life. But things began to change suddenly. I was loosing my appetite and my body was becoming slim. I always felt weak and tired and wanted to be in bed longer. I found it difficult to manage the house and the household work. So on May 2019, we went to consult a doctor. After preliminary observations the doctor advised us to take a blood test, some other tests and also prescribed some medicine. The medicines did not give much relief and so we did other tests as advised by doctor and went to see him with the report. He asked me to wait outside and had some discussions with my husband. My husband appeared sad soon after he came from the consulting room.
After we reached home, I asked about my health report to my husband. At first he did not reveal much, but due to intese compulsion from me he disclose the details of my tests. I was shocked at once. I was suffering from cancer…! It has affected my liver. We did not know what will happen to me in the following days to come. The treatment began as per the advise from our doctor.
Gradually I started gaining confidence to fight back with the disease that have affected me. With the help of my football friends, I fought back and returned to normal life… My Second birth… This is true… I promise in name of my husband and children. I still believe that my passion to fooball and indepth belief in God helped me recover from this serious life-threatening desease.
After completing a series of Kemo therapy and further medical treatment from Kozhikode Medical college, I have come back to live a normal life. Now, I have developed a hobby of designing and painting on glass bottles in my home for time pass and also started doing other homely activities as usual.
I am thankful to those people who supported and stood beside me during my fight against the disease that was killing me and helped me to recover and have a second chance in my life.
Our friendship started long back in the year 2017, when my son joined in Kerala Football training Centre’s vacation coaching camp at Devagiri college ground owing to the interest of my husband Jaferkka – a real football maniac. I did not have much idea about football during that time. Everyday, Jaferkka took my son to the camp regularly in early morning. Eventhough I was not pleased, but watching their interest to attend the camp and practice football, I kept silent. I remember those days during which the World cup football commenced, our house were full of football fans. Jaferkka and his friends were always talking about football matches, football teams and players. Sometimes they also took the side of certain team and argued between each other. I was not understanding what they were saying. This is madness – I thought! What is there to get exited and argue so much about a game…? After all, this is a game with one ball…. and 22 persons, running behind the ball – what is there to be so much exited…! Such was my understanding about the game that I had during those days.
The vacation camp concluded by the end of April.
In June my son joined KFTC’s regular camp at Olympion Rahman stadium, Medical college Kozhikode. Husband and Jasim was very much interested to join the camp.
My son was studying at Markaz English Medium school, Karanthur during that time. KFTC’s Head coach P Niyaz Rahman and assistant coaches P Krishnaprasad and Basith V P were also working there. Their motivation and support encouraged my son to join KFTC.
As things were going smooth, Jaferkka had to move to Ooty (Tamilnadu) to join a new job that he was offered recently. I was in trouble…the camp has already started. Withdrawing from it will hurt my son and Jafferkka. Moreover I too have started developing interest in the game silently. I have to take the responsibilty and take my son to the football camp.
Having a two wheeler licence helped me to take my son to the camp. Olympion Rahman stadium was very huge. I was verymuch confused that I doubted whether I should allow my 10 year old son to practice the game in this ground. It was a rainy season. The rain started pouring…when the rain stoppes, the coaches helps the children to practice in the ground. I looked my son running here and there behind the ball and watched him practice in the ground alongwith other students. When I get bored, I spent the rest of my time watching mobile. The coaching camp continued for two months.
Onam is a festival celebrated throughout the state of Kerala. This year’s Onam was celebrated in KFTC on September. Also it was the month that celebrated the Anniversary of KFTC. By the time, I made friendship with many parents whose children were attending the camp. Anwarkka (Arfas/Absher), Shishidha(Aswin), Jini (Arjun), Sajni (Rehan), C V Gireeshettan (Niranjan),Rajeevettan(Rehan), Satheeshettan (Hari govind), Baiju ettan (Karthik/Parthiv) are some of them who I made friends from the camp. They are very loving and good persons. Sishi, Sajni, Jini also didn’t know much about the game – football. I told them that I too knew less about this game, in the beginning. Gradually we developed interest in the game and started watching the camp eagarly. The coaching faculties set the students into different teams and arranged practice matches among each team so as to make the students aquire some idea and develop some skills about this beautiful game. Scoring and gaining, attacking and defending, Front players and back players, are some of the skills that students can familiarise during such practice matches. We clapped and encouraged our team whenever they holds the ball and make moves to score against the opponent team. We used to celeberate our team’s victory but felt sad when we lost. We participated in regular discussions about the performances of our team. By the time, all of us, who didn’t know much about this game has turned into a fan of football.
During the month of December, Orange football School from Beypore conducted a football tournament for students.
KFTC got an invitation to participate in the tournament. My son was selected in the team for this tournament. The coach for our team was Prasad V Haridasan sir. We heard that he is one of the best coach in KFTC, who is dedicated to his work and strict to the students. He did not allow parents to stay with their children during the practice session. We were a little bit disappointed, but also had a fear of respect to him. According to him, children have only started understanding the basics of football and how to play the game. They need to work hard inorder to become a good football player. Calling them and allowing them to take rest during a practice session can slowdown their skill development. We didn’t understand the logic in his argument.
Two games ended in goal-less draw and our team was knocked out from the tournament. However, the coach was not distressed about the result. He said to the boys – ‘ children, you have put your maximum effort, played well and had tried your best to win the match. Don’t look at the results. Instead, look into the game that you have played. You have gained a lot of experience during this tournament, eventhough we have lost it. But the lessons that you have learnt from these matches can help you play better in the matches that will come along your career’. Allow the children to enjoy the game they are playing. This was his opinion. After one week the same team played another football match at Vadakara. Again, the team lost the game. The coach repeated the same words and encouraged the students. After two weeks, the same team won the All Kerala Academy Football tournament conducted by PFTC. Same week they also won another All Kerala tournament conducted by NOVA, Arappatta, Wayanad (Dist.). Our team has risen into their great form. Now I realised the strength of those inspiring words our coach had said when our team lost the matches.
Anwarkka, Niyaz Sir and Prasad Sir suggested that this team can be retained as a regular School team if all students from this team can study in same school. They planned to get admission for the boys in Savio School. We welcomed this suggestion. Other boys, including my son also got admission in Savio School. Fr. Bony Augustine Sir from Devagiri college and Fr. Jhony Sir from Savio school also helped us to get admission for the boys in Savio School. Now, as all the players in Savio school football team has already played the game as a team in KFTC, this school team became one of the competent teams in Kozhikode. This team reached the final of Subrotho Cup and won the All Kerala UP School tournament conducted at Chelembra School, Malappuram (Dt). All the players from Savio School football team also continued playing football matches for KFTC thereafter, the team won so many tournaments (Vaniyambalam, Kannur……) in football academy level, under the training and guidance of coach Basith. Good players like Abu swalih, Aswin, Anirudh, Sinan, pranav, Gazlin, Sorin, Amal was in the team.
Days after I was selected to parents association executive committee and was assigned as convenor of 2006 batch. During May 2019, KFTC conducted an All Kerala Academy Football Tournament, in which many well known reputed football teams from Kerala participated. I was a member in food committee for this tournament. I really enjoyed those days and was feeling proud to serve food to so many people. KFTC team (including my son) won the tournament. The season ended in a magnificant way.
After the end of KFTC tournament, Muthoot Football Academy, Eranakulam called us and invited my son to their academy. Ernakulam is a distant location from my home town. Jafferkka is working at Ooty, I cannot go alongwith my son to Ernakulam as I have to lookafter my other children and their studies here. But this is a good opportunity to my son and his football carrier. That was really a difficult time. I was really confused.
I came to know that another KFTC player Muhammed Sinan has decided to join Muthoot Academy. The news gave me a little relief. If two of them can join Muthoot Academy, they could help each other – I thought. I was thinking how to reach KFTC. One day, my sister told me that she has decided to admit her son to KFTC. It was really a happy news for me. I took my sister’s son Aaroon to KFTC.
During those days, I was feeling a shooting pain from my stomach frequently. I thought the pain was due to some indigestion and took some painkiller. But the pain became severe day by day and I was not able to hold it further more. So, I went for a checkup in one hospital and later to another, for treatment. However I did not feel any improvement in my treatment. Finally, Dr. Rasheed from my family advised us to consult Dr. Sreejayan at Kozhikode Medical college. Dr. Sreejayan was a good doctor with a very pleasing character. I was advised to undergo some medical tests and after looking into the result he asked me take admission in Medical college. There was a tumor of about six centimeter length, growing in my liver – That was the cause of acute pain in the abdomen. I was shocked and felt some fear. Hearing the news, Jafferkka rushed to the hospital. I held the hands of my Jaferkka and children strongly and prayed to god. Jaferkka has been always with me in all my happiest and difficult moments. My mother, father, sister Simi, her husband Hussain (he is a good football player too) and all my relatives gave me all comfort. Later, I received the love and care from my well wishers and friends from all circles which I never expected to witness in such a wide range. This include good human beings from KFTC, my school batchmates (Anayamkunnu School, Mukkam), my friends from JDT, Vellimadkunnu. Also special mention has to be made about those names I had reported earlier, viz; Shishi (KFTC) , Subramanyettan (Aswin), Dr.Sunil (Devadath), Dr. Sindhukala (Devadath), Sajiyettan (Nanda Lal), Rajettan (Abhay S R Raj), Sreejechi (Abhay S R Raj), Simi (Amal), Sherin (Fayodhor), Aslitha (GazIin), K.P. Kabeerkka (Amjad), Ramsitha (Amjad),Aneeshettan (Niranjan S Nair), Gangadharettan (Sabari), Coach I.P. Prasad, Sudhiyettan (Sorin), Sasiyettan (Anirudh), Nazarkka (Ahyan), Novia (Danish), Sanjeevettan (Dhananjay), Shajeshettan (Ankith), Sheena (Ankith), Fabida (shahadan), Sheebechi (Sabari), Jishitha (Karthik), Ramya (Athul Raj), Reshma (Anupam chand), Jisha (Vasudev), Krishna (Tharun), Roy Tomsettan (Ruben), Jayachandrettan (Jayasankar), Jayarajettan (Jayamohan), Sujaya (Sudarsan), Dimple (Alan Raj), Jasir, Selvettan (Surjith), Shidha Jagath (Safdar/Shawez), Sudhakarettan (Sudarsan), Ullasettan (Arjun), Jisha (Nayan Krishna), Babitha (Gokul Raj), all the family members of KFTC, Relatives, neighbours….the list continues. It is difficult to mention all those who stood beside me during my difficult period (If I have forgot to mention any names, please pardon me). My prayers and sincere thanks to all of them. I express my sincere gratitude to all those people who helped me to bring my life to normal. Tears are flowing from my eyes. All those good people stood with me irrespective of their religion, caste, or financial background… and my health and recovery was their only concern… Their positive attitude, and motivating discussions might be the reason that gave me hope for survival and fight against the disease that resulted in my speedy recovery.
I believe that all this became possible only because of football. It was my love to football that gave me such loving friends who also helped me to fight against this life-threatening desease. I consider all those who helped me to recover, as my own. If I did not allow my son to join KFTC, I wont be able to meet such people and experience their love and affection. Slowly, I returned to normal life. Football and your positive approach helped me regain my life. Influence of football transformed me to face any disasterous situation in life in a courageous way. I Succeded and won fight against cancer. I will never forget you guys… You prayed for me, helped me and motivated me. I also express my sincere gratitude to the teachers of Makkoottam A M U P School choolamvayal, where my children study, their PTA, Pratheeksha Residence Association, Thodukayil, friends of Dance School, friends of Pathimangalam and people from my native place. Further, if I tend to face any such situation in my life, I am sure, your loving and caring hands will lift me and protect me from any such falls.
This gives me courage to live my remaining life in a better way. Thank
with lots of love…..
Prepared & transalated by Prasad V Haridasan