TODAY -

Bereaved hubby aids cancer patients in wife's memory
Struck by tragedy, indomitable Lokendro runs 'Friday Chuhing' initiative to help cancer patients

Source: Chronicle News Service / Niranjan Oinam

Imphal, April 17 2024: In a world often characterised by self-interest and pursuit of personal gain, Longjam Lokendro stands as a beacon of compassion and selflessness.

Having endured the heart-wrenching loss of his beloved wife to cancer, Lokendro has transformed his grief into a profound act of kindness that reverberates through the streets of his community.

Every Friday, amidst the bustling thoroughfares, he sets up his humble stall, aptly named 'Friday Chuhing', opposite to the office of All India Radio, Imphal, offering refreshing sugarcane juice to passersby.

Yet, this endeavour transcends mere commerce; every drop of sweetness he serves carries with it a profound purpose.

For Lokendro, the proceeds from his stall are not destined for his own coffers, but rather for a noble cause close to his heart - aiding cancer patients from impoverished backgrounds, once every six months.

In his unwavering dedication to alleviate the suffering of others, he embodies the essence of altruism, igniting a flame of hope and solidarity within the hearts of all who encounter his story.

Lokendro's odyssey begins in the quaint village of Khum-bong Mayai Leikai, where he was raised as the fifth child in a humble farmer's family.

From an early age, Lokendro exhibited an unwavering commitment to community service, a trait instilled in him by his parents, Longjam Nilmadhav and Irengbam Ibeton.

Little did he know that this intrinsic altruism would shape his destiny in ways he could never have imagined.

In 2002, Lokendro tied the knot with Oinam Ashalata, affectionately nicknamed Ibe-thoi.

Their union was blessed with two sons, whose laughter filled their modest home with boundless warmth and happiness.

However, their idyllic life was soon shattered when tragedy struck in the form of a devastating diagnosis - early carcinoma.

The elder son is now studying in standard 11 and the younger son in standard 8 .

It was in the year 2013, when Ashalata received the fateful news.

Determined to spare no expense in the fight against cancer, Lokendro embarked on a journey fraught with financial hardships and emotional turmoil.

Selling off properties and seeking aid from friends and relatives, he spared no effort in ensuring that his wife received the best possible care.

At Tata Hospital in Mumbai, Ashalata underwent a series of surgeries and treatments in a bid to overcome the devious disease.

Despite initial successful surgery, fate proved relentless in its cruelty.

Cancer, with its voracious appetite, soon metastasised, infiltrating Ashalata's lungs and subsequently her brain.

Yet, in the face of adversity, Lokendro remained steadfast in his resolve, drawing strength from the love for his Wife and children.

As they were told about the need for a brain surgery to remove the affected cells, his wife was reluctant to undergo the surgery but she started to experience frequent fainting and other neurological issues.

She then asked him to call 10 friends and family members to get their opinions for further course of treatment.

However, nobody could give any opinion confidently.

As her condition worsened, he decided opted for the surgery.

At that time, his wife told him that she could see nothing but a small flame, which she described as her sons.

His wife underwent four surgeries and by that time, he had no means to support the treatment or their daily lives.

Their journey was not without its moments of grace, however, as Lokendro found solace in the kindness of strangers, particularly the Marathi and Tamil communities in Mumbai.

Moved by his plight, they extended a helping hand in the form of financial aid and blood donations, offering a glimmer of hope amidst the darkness that threatened to engulf them.

As the years wore on, Lokendro and Ashalata found themselves embroiled in a relentless battle against an unseen enemy, one that seemed determined to snatch away their happiness and dreams.

Tragically, despite their valiant efforts, Ashalata succumbed to cancer on March 21, 2016, leaving Lokendro bereaved and adrift in a sea of grief.

Yet, even in the depths of despair, he found the strength to carry on, spurred by a newfound sense of purpose bom from the ashes of his sorrow.

During her treatment he and his wife wrote a book called 'Lanpham Asida Nang-Ei'.

After she died, he tried to complete the book but he has not been able to do so as his eyes would fill up with tears whenever he think of completing the book.

Determined to honour his wife's memory and alleviate the suffering of others afflicted by the same plight, Lokendro embarked on a journey of philanthropy.

Selling flower nurseries at Khumbong Keithel to pay off debts and picking up trashes to accumulate fund for helping cancer patients, and then later transitioning to a humble sugarcane juice seller after working at LG Rose Garden, Yurembam and a casual gardener for three months at AIR Imphal, Lokendro committed every Friday to his charitable cause, aptly naming his stall 'Friday Chuhing' as a tribute to his late wife's memory.

But Lokendro s generosity knew no bounds, as every rupee earned from his stall, every drop of sugarcane juice served, serving a higher purpose - to support those battling with cancer.

Through his 'Cancer Helping Box,' Lokendro collected contributions from his customers every Friday, some of whom are touched by his endeavour and donate extra money.

Despite facing personal challenges and financial constraints, Lokendro's commitment to his cause remained unwavering, as he persevered in his mission to ease the burden of those afflicted by cancer.

Whether faced with bandh or blockades or other issues, he ensured that his charity work for cancer patients persisted, by bringing out the 'Cancer Helping Box' on the next possible day.

His efforts culminated in the 'Cancer Warrior Support' initiative, where funds collected through his 'Cancer Helping Box' are distributed to cancer patients once every six months; on February 2, his late wife's birthday, and on August 2 every year.

To date, Lokendro has supported eight cancer patients, a testimony of his enduring legacy of compassion and service.

Moreover, he is steadfast in his commitment as he takes a pledge to continue the charity as long as he could work.


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