He Fights His Cancer, with a Little Help From His Friends!

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.28.38 AM


Click here for video…



By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: You wouldn’t describe someone who has had to fight cancer, not just once but twice, as a lucky man. But when the man is showered with love and affection of not only his family but two dozen close friends and their young children, you have to admit that he is indeed a lucky man.

They came from across the Bayou City, and some from further afield, to be there at the surprise party for Sumant Malhotra and to boost up his morale in his fight with a disease that has thankfully still not worn him down.

sumant 2in

Sumant with his wife Kavita, daughter Sarina and mom Bindu

And the surprise was a video made by the entire Houston Rockets basketball team wishing him luck in his ongoing fight. “Two weeks ago a childhood friend Arjun Mohindra had contacted the Director of communications for the Rockets about sending a best wishes card,” explained Rishi Goswami. “We were floored when they sent a 4-minute video with all the players. All they asked is that we record Sumant’s reaction as he saw the video and send it to them.”

So they contacted their other childhood friends to come to Marquee, the members only club in City Centre for a surprise get together and all of them agreed. Another friend, Dr. Akash Bhagat who has known Sumant since 1988 in 7th grade, and has stayed in touch, is a part owner of the Marquee and gladly offered a private back room for the party, which had boxes of pizza catered in for the little kids.

Sumant is the older son of long-time Houstonians Bindu and Bhagwant Singh Malhotra. Bindu is from Delhi and worked as an ex-school teacher and registered nurse for 30 years, currently at Memorial Hermann Hospital Northwest. Bhagwant, from Lucknow, is a retired civil engineer. They left India in 1971 and lived in Lockport, New York for 10 years before moving down to the sunny climes of Houston in 1990. They have a younger son, Kavin, a radiologist in Houston.

sumant 1in

Sumant Malhotra’s friends Rishi Goswami (left) and Dr. Akash Bhagat (right) who helped arrange the surprise party at Marquee, with his parents Bindu and Bhagwant Malhotra

Sumant was diagnosed with anaplastic astrocytoma, a type of brain cancer characterized by headaches, depression and sometimes seizures, in October 2009 and had surgery in a week later to successfully remove the tumor. Unfortunately, it returned as a stage 4 glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive malignant primary brain tumor in humans, and Sumant had surgery to remove most of it in March 2015.

All of this hasn’t slowed Sumant, 38, down as he continues to work as a full-time optometrist at America’s Best in Fort Worth, where he lives with his wife Kavita and 5-year-old daughter Sarina (who shares his birthday), both of whom secretly made the trip down to Houston for the surprise party.

As he entered through the massive arched wooden door and stone façade of the party room, Sumant was dumbfounded when he saw his friends and bent down to pick up his daughter who ran to him. Mohindra told him how they got the video and roasted Sumant teasingly. Sumant just couldn’t believe his eyes as he was surrounded by his friends and some of their parents – three generations of Americans – who showered him with affection, and realized that, indeed he was a lucky man.