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4th Odisha Regional Meet

The Max Foundation in collaboration with the Friends of Max- Bhubaneswar City Chapter had proposed to organize The Fourth FOM, Odisha Regional Meet at Bhubaneswar on 09/02/2014. The theme of meet was suggested as “Let’s relive the moments again and take forth happiness that never ends!”

Seeing such a captivating and fascinating theme on the agenda and being at reasonable proximity to the place, I felt tempted to part of the action that was to unfold and landed up at the venue, minutes ahead of the scheduled start time of 9 AM.

The venue was at the very picturesque premises of Info City, Bhubaneswar. The preparedness at security gates of the premises was overwhelming. They had a comprehensive list of the different patients, care givers and others who were expected to attend the meeting, which went to show the zeal and enthusiasm and the meticulous efforts made by the organizers towards the run up to the meeting.

Contemporary, state-of-the-art, bright and spacious with magnificent vaulted ceilings and a soothing white and green décor, the hall at the Employee Care Center of M/s Infosys Ltd has a beautifully soothing design and wonderfully calm ambience and at the first instance instilled a sense of feel good to the plethora of patients who came in from as far as even few hundreds of miles away.

The volunteers handled registration in a spotless manner.  They registered the entire group and modestly segregated them into four groups by giving them red, blue, yellow and green colored badges.  The mystery of the group would soon unfold as the meeting commenced when it was proposed by Amma, Ms Viji Venkatesh in her opening remarks the meeting had envisioned a session of drama therapy to begin with.

The concept of a short play of a household afflicted with CML and how the disease impacts their daily life and how the family would cope up with the different odds have been quite meticulously staged during FOM meets in the past. The concept this time was to split the play into four and offer the same to the chosen groups who would in effect be enacting the designated portion of the plot after requisite planning and preparation.

The concept was a great success. No soon had Amma concluded her address, the groups huddled together in amplified enthusiasm and could put forward an absorbing 10 minutes act which kept the audience engrossed. The key themes and motifs were compliance, the need to get PCR tests and need to be outspoken with family on the medical condition.

The hallmark of an FOM meet is the physical presence of the reputed oncologists and hematologists of the town. The following doctors came for the meeting and readily agreed to be part of the doctor’s panel.

Dr Prabodh Das, Dr R K Jena, Dr Sudha Setty, Dr Ghanashyam Biswas, Dr Debasish Das and Dr Upendra Nayak

The valued presence of such eminent doctors affords a platform for comprehensive advocacy panel interactions. The issues that CML survivors face after diagnosis and treatment are not well understood or described on a case to case basis at the doctor’s clinic essentially on account of paucity of time and other constraints.  The patient advocacy panels in the FOM meets are truly informative, enlightening and explanatory. They have been immensely helpful to patients and a patient looks forward towards them with great expectations. The medical and therauptic aspects and the social aspects, side effects and general issues emanating as a consequence of CML were covered by the panel of eminent doctors which last for over an hour.  The session aroused tremendous interest and patients were able to pose their queries and get a first-hand response from the different doctors.

The lunch organized by the core group had also been wholesome and nourishing keeping with the high standards of lunch in FOM meetings.

Post lunch, the meeting had scheduled comprehensive and informative presentations from Viji Venkatesh (Amma) on behalf of the Max Foundation and that of Sudha Samineni the Maxstation in charge for Odisha who operates from Hyderabad.

Amma’s presentation spoke at length about the journey traversed by the Max Foundation during the past decade and how the reach had spread to benefit as many as 17895 patients on date from the humble beginnings in 2002. Amma through her presentation also emphasized on some of the key aspects pertaining to compliance and adherence to doctor’s advice etc. which are so imperative for CML treatment. Sudha’s presentation addressed the finer nuances and the dos and don’ts for the different patients in their pursuit to get medicines timely and the issues involved when a patient seeks to register into the program.

The meeting concluded with acknowledgements to the efforts of the organizer’s and a filling of feedback forms of the Max Foundation.

Amongst the organizers, the core group of the FOM Bhubaneswar City Chapter comprising of Shri Om Prakash Agarwal, Shri Gautam Mahapatra, Shri Rabindra Kumar Gouda and Amlan Shet were remarkable. They were there everywhere and put their heart out to make the event a realization. The painstaking and thorough endeavors of Amma, Viji Venkatesh and Ms Sudha Samineni were overwhelming and awe inspiring.

By-

Ramanathan Seshadri, FOM Kolkata

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