ACTREC Navi Mumbai-Report by Suresh Pawar

At the ACTREC, Kharghar, Navi Mumbai Support Group Meeting for CML & GIST patients, organized by The Max Foundation for Friends of Max, Suresh Pawar, FOM City Chapter Leader from Mumbai, was interviewed and asked to share his views:

  1. What is the importance of Support Group Meetings for patients?

Patients get the free drug “Glivec” from The Max Foundation, which benefits all the patients living in far corners of our country. However, what is often seen is that after the initial phase of ‘feeling better’, some patients stop taking the drug. There are also instances where because the patients are unable to cope with the side effects of the drug, they also stop taking the drug. In both these cases, discontinuation of the drug has a negative impact on the prescribed treatment protocol. The FOM patient support group mainly works to create awareness among CML and GIST patients about treatment compliance and many more such important issues, which the patients in their ignorance may commit. Today, FOM Support Group has more than 250 volunteers (a.k.a. City Chapter Leaders), who are operational PAN India following our universal motto of “Learning and sharing”.

2. What are your feelings when you meet the FOM community?

Meeting together in FOM meetings is a special event for us because it is an opportunity for all patients to come together. Further, it is a forum which allows the patients to clear their doubts regarding the disease and its side effects by leading expert doctors. During the meetings, varied workshops in art, music and drama are conducted, hence not only are the patients attending a meeting but they are also celebrating.

3. What are your thoughts on the interactive sessions organized at these Support Group Meetings?

The interactive sessions conducted in these support group meetings are very informative and helpful for all CML patients. In every meeting, we learn something new and get treatment updates. At the end of the day, patients go home feeling happy & relaxed.

4. Do you have any expectations from the future FOM Meeting?

This program has had a positive impact on me and other CML & GIST patients. I would like to see its benefits reach every patient, as every life matters!