Dr Nadia Chaudhri’s messages and conversations full of light are a source of daily upliftment for many on Twitter. The neuroscience professor based in Montreal, Canada was diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year at the age of 43 and, told it would be terminal, knows she is inching towards the end of the road. And yet, she holds herself up to every moment in life.
On the microblogging platform, Chaudhri’s candid viral tweets have inspired netizens to live with joy and hope in the face of tragedy. Over the past year, she has not just been a figure of resilience but also a messenger of awareness about how to identify and best deal with cancer.
Chaudhri is a Pakistani-British neuroscientist based in Canada, where she is a professor at Concordia University since 2010. She is married and has one child, a son aged six. Following her cancer diagnosis, Chaudhri tracked her life on social media for netizens who grew to be family.
On October 4, Twitterati woke up to a barrage of condolence tweets for their beloved neuroscientist, citing radio silence on her account over the past few days. Last she tweeted was on September 29, when she wrote about a painful abscess in her cheek.
Several from the medical community mourned her death. Surgeon Dr Lucjan Mazur wrote about information he received on her death. Basis that and other tweets appearing to offer confirmation, SheThePeople earlier wrote a detailed report. However, further clarifications from the medical community state she is alive and in palliative care. The story has been updated.
Dr Krista Byers-Heinlein, professor at Concordia, tweeted Chaudhri “has not yet left us, but has been sleeping, kept comfortable by devoted palliative care staff and her family who is by her side.” Several who erroneously offered condolences for Chaudhri have since withdrawn their messages.
Know Who Is Dr Nadia Chaudhri, The ‘Love And Light’ Of Twitter
Last month, she shared her gritty story in detail, from symptoms to acceptance. In January 2020, she began suffering from abdominal pain that health professionals pinned down on a possible urinary tract disease.
Her CA tests (used to identify cancer presence) came back at abnormally high levels, following which she sought chemotherapy. “Know your bodies. Pay attention to fatigue and changes in bowel/urinary tract movements. Make sure you understand all the words on a medical report. Do not dismiss your pain or malaise,” she advised.
Earlier this year in May, a tweet by Chaudhri marking the day she would tell her son about her approaching death went viral.
“Our hearts broke. We cried a lot. And then the healing began. My son is brave. He is bright. He will be okay,” she wrote.
Today Is the day I tell my son that I’m dying from cancer. It’s reached a point where he has to hear it from me. Let all my tears flow now so that I can be brave this afternoon. Let me howl with grief now so that I can comfort him. pic.twitter.com/PDgy8qbTIL
— Dr. Nadia Chaudhri (@DrNadiaChaudhri) May 11, 2021
With over 142,000 followers on Twitter, Chaudhri also uses her wide reach to successfully platform visibility and fundraisers for aspiring young scientists from marginalised and underrepresented backgrounds. In her honour, her university too set up the Nadia Chaudhri Wingspan Award for scholarships towards that same effort.
The #ConcordiaShuffle officially takes place tomorrow. Here’s my mini Shuffle-in-place video for you.
Girls just wanna have fun & that’s what my bestie & I are doing 😊
Your donations to the Nadia Chaudhri Wingspan Award have blown me away. Words can’t convey my gratitude. 1/n https://t.co/t5MqfJg422 pic.twitter.com/mBwAjrsgIG
— Dr. Nadia Chaudhri (@DrNadiaChaudhri) September 23, 2021
Image: CBC News