Chandan, 14-year-old boy, suffering from cancer always dreamt of becoming a fighter pilot. He was undergoing treatment for cancer and passed away on February 5th, the World Cancer day.
Though he did not become a pilot, the Indian Air Force fulfilled the dream by giving him the experience of flying a fighter jet in a Jaguar simulator.
On November, IAF gave Chandan his wings, stitched a small uniform for the 14-year-old and made him a Flying Lieutenant. Flt Lt Chandan was given a first-hand experience of flying a fighter aircraft in a simulator at Ambala airbase.
The dream was made possible with the support of Uday foundation, an organisation working for cancer patients. They spotted Chandan and his father about a year ago near AIIMS and were closely associated with their family ever since.
Girish Mandal, his father was a ration-shop owner in Samastipur, Bihar, and his mother a housewife. In two years, Chandan underwent as many as 22 sessions of chemotherapy, always hopeful that he would grow up and become a fighter pilot.
"He used to visit our centre regularly. When asked what would he like to become when he grew up, he would say 'fighter pilot'," Rahul Verma, founder of Uday Foundation said.
"Master Chandan, who had been battling with cancer for some time is no more amongst us. It is a sad coincidence that he left us on World Cancer Day. Chandan was a brave boy and a fighter, in that he was very keen to live his dream of being a fighter pilot, despite probably being aware of his ailment. We were fortunate to have been associated with him and be a part of his dream, albeit for a short time. His cheerfulness and deep desire to follow his dream inspired us all," a condolence message by Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha read on Thursday. Chandan was cremated at Samastipur in Bihar on Thursday evening.
His condition had been worsening day-by-day. "A month ago, he stopped responding to the medicines. He was on morphine for the past seven days. But every time I mentioned about the experience of flying a fighter jet, he had a smile on his face," Verma said.