“Challenge is an opportunity, pleasure is a priority!” An electrifying sentiment from a compelling gentleman: India’s international lawn tennis persona, Vijay Amritraj. Addressing the contingent Asian Heart Institute heart patients successfully ran the Mumbai Marathon, Amritraj told the audience that he had always aspired to become a doctor. But his association with the medical fraternity remained limited to visiting hospitals as an asthma patient! It was then that the doctors advised him to take up tennis as as sport to enable his lungs to function better. “I eventually got my doctorate by hitting aces on the tennis court!”
His triumphant testimony couldn’t have summed up the mood better. Asian Heart is the official medical partner for The Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon and Mr. Amritraj came in his capacity of the brand ambassador for the same.
Mr. Amritraj himself is an angioplasty patient and has weathered multiple muscular surgeries. But he still embodies the spirit of the ‘Bravehearts’, the nomenclature for the ex-patients of Asian Heart who run the marathon each year. “Sports is the purest form of competition. You wither win or you lose!”, said Mr. Amritraj in his now-famous baritone. Dr. Panda, who also participates in the Dream Run each year, shared a few light moments with Mr. Amritraj, calling the AHI contingent his ‘zipper club’ (due to the post-surgery scar!).
According to Dr. Contractor, the HOD for Preventive Cardiology & Cardiac Rehab, who summed up the resilience of the runners
beautifully, “People who get their cardiac surgery done from Asian Heart are sure to run the marathon the very next year!!” Mr. Dhananjay Yellurkar ran the full marathon, 69 year old Mr. Dasadia completed the dream run despite a severe knee injury that took place while practicing and 44 year old Mr. Sunil Fadia ran the half marathon, all three men beacons of inner strength and determination
Vijay Amritraj’s charity organisation supports 19 charities in India; but according to him, the pressure on the court is far less than the pressure to save lives, something that the doctors at Asian Heart do everyday, day after day. Little wonder then that all the runners, young and old, are proud to be living their life to the fullest, despite multiple issues regarding their health. Here’s to many more such runs!