Krishna Zivraj-Nair, who was treated for breast cancer at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, is now dedicating her life to dance, after being told she was cancer-free.
Watch Krishna's story
Krishna, who’s 44-years-old, teaches the Indian classical dance form Bharatanatyam and Bollywood dance styles to children and adults to help raise awareness of South Asian art forms.
She also worked as a research scientist at University of Cambridge, after being awarded a PhD in neurobiology.
When Krishna was diagnosed with triple-positive breast cancer in October 2018, she continued to teach dance at Sanskruti Dance, in Cambridge on days she felt well, but was forced to stop public performances including touring her production Apple 'N' Spice.
The Bharatanatyam dancer was treated with the chemotherapy drugs Docetaxel and Epirubicin, before having 20 cycles of Her2-directed immunotherapy. She then received a lumpectomy and undertook radiotherapy sessions.
After seven rounds of chemo and surgery, Krishna managed to get back performing during her radiotherapy sessions which she said “made her feel alive” again. She was officially in remission in January 2020.
"Dance kept me going and at the end of my last radiotherapy session, when I walked out of the hospital, I told myself that from now on, I will dedicate myself to dance. I was cancer-free after all!"
"Whenever I was physically okay, I would try to practice. Re-gaining the energy to move, to feel your hands and limbs working, I think that was really important for me."Krishna
The South Asian dance artist has been taking part in workshops led by the Cambridge University Hospitals arts team, to help shape the art strategy and designs for the new Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital.
The artist and museum-led workshops have been taking place at the University of Cambridge Museums and other venues around Cambridge.
It's part of the regional cancer hospital's mission to co-produce the new state-of-the-art facility in partnership with patients and staff.
"To get patients involved in bringing up the hospital together, is a very wonderful thing. It allows people to express themselves and to actually listen to their ideas and feedback is a very human-way forward."Krishna
The Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital (CCRH), is bringing together clinical expertise from Addenbrooke’s Hospital and world-class scientists from the University of Cambridge and Cancer Research UK Cambridge Centre, in a new world-class facility for the East of England.
It's expected to start being built on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus in 2024, next to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Astrazeneca and Royal Papworth Hospital.
"It's going to make a big difference to a lot of patients like me."
Krishna is one of around eighty people involved in the Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital project, sharing ideas on how the new hospital should look, feel and care for patients.
She said: "Cambridge Cancer Research Hospital is a milestone for research and care that Addenbrooke's strives to give to all its patients.
"To get patients involved in bringing up the hospital together, is a very wonderful thing. It allows people to express themselves and to actually listen to their ideas and feedback is a very human-way forward.
"It's going to make a big difference to a lot of patients like me. By using state-of-art technology, and with the level of research already happening in Cambridge, it makes me feel really positive about the future of cancer care."