Movies Made Cancer Sexy. My Leukaemia Didn’t Match Up.


Movies Made Cancer Sexy. My Leukaemia Didn’t Match Up.

Illustration: Sushant Ahire


n 2002, a month before I was diagnosed with childhood leukaemia, the movie adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ A Walk To Remember released. Starring the big sister of early-2000s pop princesses, Mandy Moore, the film’s romance revolves around a pastor’s daughter, Jamie, who has leukaemia and the bad boy, Landon, who falls in love with her. The whole thing concludes with a borderline child marriage, and of course, Jamie’s untimely death. Landon, who by now has turned himself around, decides to attend medical school and find a cure for cancer.

Although it was far from a cinematic masterpiece, A Walk to Remember was close to home. I had even shared a hospital ward with a girl who, like Jamie, was a few years older than me with a pretty, pallid face and long brown hair. I never got to know her name because shortly after I was admitted, her bed was cleared – usually not a good sign in the cancer wing. In my childish, bespectacled eyes, she became Jamie, the romantic leading lady who had to be sacrificed for the story to make any sense.