Nitesh Kumar Prajapat, A Stage 4 Cancer Patient With An Entrepreneurial Soul!


What you are going to read is more of an entrepreneur’s article than an entrepreneurial one. Nitesh Kumar Prajapat, a graduate of IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta us a 27 year old lad who has dreamt of bringing the essence of authentic Indian delicacies from regional establishments at your doorstop through Appeti, an online marketplace specifically designed for these purposes. And this young man is more of one entrepreneur than any one else.

Accompanied by his wife, Dimple Parmar:

He was ready to start a new life after completing his MBA.

After his campus placements, Nitesh was set to join Development Bank while Dimple initially managed on her startup.

However, it all was hit by a sudden and unexpected shock when Nitesh was diagnosed with stage III cancer in the year 2016.

Nitesh’s better half says:

It shook us. Everyone was gobsmacked. Me more than him.

He had growm12 tumours in his bilateral lungs, pelvis, and abdomen.

Nitesh ia currently seeking treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in the US a d has a determination to defeat this disease eventually.

It all started in the end of their summer internship in their first year at IIM Calcutta, when Dimple noticed a few major changes in Nitesh’s behaviour.

He suddenly seemed tired and complained of pain in his stomach which was unlikely.

However for the meantime the couple ignored this symptoms assuming that of being due to the peer pressure of running their startup while pursuing their studies at IIM Calcutta.

But later, when it remained persisitent, Nitesh went to the to the Apollo Clinic in Kolkata alone.

He had to take the blow of this news on his own the first time.

When he returned back to the campus and shared the prognosis with me, I was too shocked to even cry, Dimple recalls.

But what amused us what that despite of  his critical situation, Nitesh maintains an entrepreneurial attitude.

He says:

Just as a startup is always ready for a sudden jolt, we too have learnt to function in a hands-on manner. In fact, you could say this is our new startup, where the goal is to get cured. We undertake funding for our cause, have angel investors and mentors (doctors, experienced patients), source raw material (medicines, enzyme supplements, meditation videos), and undergo a monthly report update (share the results of scans and tests with friends and family members).

Eventually, due to the extensive chemotheraphy it became difficult for Nitesh to walk to his class, attend long lecture sessions, or even have discussions with his peers. Soon he had to remain isolated from the rest of the students on campus to ensure good hygiene.

Lack of intial money became a barrier in his treatment. Dimple and Nitesh had already taken a loan of Rs 20 lakh for their MBA course.

Also on the academic front Nitesh had to meet all his college requirements, undergo chemotherapy, prepare for campus placements, and till recently he even managed his startup.

And despite this hectic schedule, refused to be a patient. He attended lectures even when under physical pain and would take just two days off on the days he received chemotherapy to deal with his fatigue.

Being budding entrepreneurs, we had invested a majority of our funds in our startups and were unable to afford the cost of treatment when he was diagnosed.

-says Dimple.

After undergoing the treatment for 12 months, the couple believed that things were somehow better.

But the doctors informed them that Nitesh has escalated to the stage 4 cancer.

It was a nightmare. I tried handling my academic work, my startup, and Nitesh’s treatment. Nitesh himself would try focussing on his startup whenever we mustered enough courage to do so. We soon saw our sales go down

-says Dimple.

Due to this the overall organization’s efficiency was also affected. It became difficult to answer requests and customer feedbacks. Also financially they could no longer afford to pay their employees’ salaries, hence, they decided to give their startup a break.

It is hard to let go of something you have built from scratch. Something in which you invested so much time, energy, and money. Something for which you fought against your family. But we had no choice. We decided to focus on our immediate goal — Making his life cancer-free, says Dimple.

Nitesh approached his health condition in a logical manner, taking this fact by heart that there is a solution to every problem.

We had vowed to face it together and I have vowed to heal him back.

-Dimple affirms.

After doctors in India gave up hope, they decided to switch clinical trials options at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Due to the high cost of treatment, they are currently crowdfunding with the help of IIT Kanpur and IIM Calcutta alumni.

Like any other entrepreneur, he listed his short-term and long-term goals, organised funding details, on-going academic requirements, treatment options and diet plans using Excel Sheets. This is a rare qualities and as we disclaimed already this is more of an entrepreneur’s article than an entrepreneurial one. We do wish for Nitesh’s speedy recovery and great the young couple with the very best for their future.