Fall 2018

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PAT R O N S | FA L L 2 0 1 8 17 p r o g r e s s n o t e s "They were completely supportive. Their main concern was that they had not been there for me. They wished they could have helped me, so I wouldn't have gone through that all by myself." In 2014 he married his partner, Kekela Ah Ho, and purchased a home in Cerritos, just blocks away from his dance studio. Life was moving at full speed for Mahajan, when he received news that forced a sudden hard brake. A biopsy revealed Stage II testicular cancer that had spread to his chest and abdomen. "My option was to go to Westwood to get treatment, but I didn't want to because my parents still lived in Palos Verdes, and I knew I needed to be somewhere where I knew the community. And there was no question that it had to be Torrance Memorial," he explains. "When I got to Torrance Memorial, I met with the amazing team. I think my parents were more distraught than I was. I love how the nurses didn't just give their attention, love and guidance to me, but they extended it to the five other people who showed up at my first appointment," Mahajan says of the staff and his supportive family. He credits two of his care team members in particular for making his journey tolerable—a nurse named Maribel Ramirez and Dr. David Chan, his oncologist at Torrance Memorial Physician Network Cancer Care. "She (Ramirez) made every one of those days worth it, just by smil- ing, talking and being real," he says. "Dr. Chan is not just an oncologist. He is what we aspire to be when it comes to compassion and love and care. Five years later, when I go for my routine blood work, he still asks, 'How is your mom doing? How's your dad? How's your sister?' It's genuine and it's who he is. And that's not just Dr. Chan; it's the entire team." Although Mahajan had to pass up a few big Hollywood jobs during his treatment, today at 42, his life and career are back on track. He is finishing a documentary about his journey with cancer, called "Live, Love, Dance." He also recently keynoted the groundbreaking of Torrance Memorial's Hunt Cancer Center, scheduled for completion in fall 2019. He concluded his speech with words inspired by his culture. "We have a saying in Hindi. It's called Jai Ho. It means 'may victory be yours.' So to all the cancer patients and survivors out there, Jai Ho to you! Namaste!" For Mahajan, sharing his story is an integral part of his healing. "I had the worst experience at the best, amazing place. I think you have to give back. I think you always have to pay it forward in life," he says. ● Dancers from NDM Bollywood Studios. Clockwise from left: Khushy Niazi, Assad Keval, Nakul Dev Mahajan, Ovais Sheikh and Klemen Franco.

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