New Delhi: Anand Arnold (born 1986) beat both cancer and paralysis to emerge as a champion bodybuilder. He has won 41 titles including Mr. India, Mr. Punjab and Mr. World for wheelchair participants.
Born in Ludhiana in 1986, he was a completely normal boy to begin with. From his school days he was interested in bodybuilding and at the age of 13, he won the first bodybuilding title.
Two years later, he was diagnosed with spinal cancer, leading to paralysis from neck down.
Recalling that nightmare he said :
” I kept having a nagging pain in my back and one night, the pain got unbearable. My mother rushed me to the hospital. They did an MRI and it was then revealed that there was a tumor at the spinal end. I was in the last stage of cancer and doctor said that I won’t live for more than a week if not operated on. I was only 15 then.”
“They conducted the surgery that removed the tumor but it left me paralyzed. My body was left immobile below the neck. I could not move, could not do anything. My mother and sisters took care of me. They kept boosting my courage in my appalling state. However, the fact was that my life was a living hell. I was paralyzed neck down at the age of 15, not being able to eat, move or do anything on my own. I was like an infant, who is dependent for everything on his family. My bodybuilding career had become an impossible dream then.”
“I remained bedridden for three whole years while my mother and sisters looked after me tirelessly with love and care. If those three years were hell for me then they were hell for my mother and sisters too.”
It was his friend Amit Gill who persuaded him to resume bodybuilding.
” One day, Amit just took me to the gym on his two-wheeler. Since I could not walk, he carried me like a child in his arms to the gym.
When I entered the gym after three long painful years, a storm of emotions rushed through me. “
“The familiarity of that environment, the energy, equipment; all my memories came to my mind. I felt so good. I felt lively again. My energy, my confidence was boosted. I asked Amit if he would bring me to the gym every day and he agreed . And gradually I began to train again.”
Naturally he faced many hurdles. He had to improvise many types of exercises. He couldn’t do the gym work outs that normally abled people can do.
But his determination and discipline enabled him to win the Mr. India (Wheelchair) title four times and the Mr. Punjab (Wheelchair) title twelve times.
In 2017 he bagged a medal in the Mr. World championship for wheelchair bodybuilders.