5th Friends of Max Odisha Meet

“After all, Hope is the only thing which keeps us all alive”

The 5th Friends of Max Meet of Odisha Chapter was held on 31st January, 2016 in the sprawling campus of Infosys, Bhubaneswar. It was graced by over 350 patients living with CML & GIST, along with their caregivers, five leading Haemato-Oncologists of Odisha (Dr. RK Jena, Dr. Prabodh Das, Dr. G. Biswas, Dr. Debasish, and Dr. Ashutosh), Odisha Chapter Leaders (OP, Rabindra and Gautam) and of course, representing the Max Foundation were Sudha and Viji Amma (fondly so-called, not by age!).

Before the programme started, all the patients were served a sumptuous breakfast as they had travelled for miles and mostly through the night for the Meet. After the ceremonial lighting of the lamp, Sudha broke the ice with the most important topic of all, the Compliance workshop speaking Odia (local language) mellifluously. In a state like Odisha, which is not so educationally advanced, with over 80% of patients from rural areas, it is ubiquitous to explain the intricate details about taking Glivec, breaking the common myths and addressing the FAQs. This was followed by Q&As with the Doctors. The Doctors addressed all the questions patiently till the last patient was clear about all that he needed to know about Glivec: its side effects, the dosage pattern, pregnancy, and the most common, “what if I forget to take the pill”. Then Amma addressed the gathering about “World Cancer Day” i.e. on 4th Feb with the 2016 theme being “We Can, I Can”. After that a photo session took place which fitted all the patients, doctors and volunteers in one frame carrying the write up “I CAN” and “WE CAN” with verbs like Dance, Share, Hug, Advocate, Volunteer, etc. This was followed by a beautiful Lunch organized in the Infosys Campus itself.

The post-lunch workshop was on “Story-Telling”, organized by Amma in which the patients and their caregivers were divided into four groups. Four Group Leaders were chosen and the participants were encouraged to share their story of life, of fear, of cancer, and much more. The best story from each group was chosen to be presented before the entire audience at the end. This helped the patients immensely, because when we hear about people in the same boat as us, and how they overcame the storm, it gives us immense confidence and hope.

After all, Hope is the only thing which keeps us all alive.

Report by Dr. Aditya Agarwal- FOM Bhubaneswar