Exactly 2 years after the immensely successful All India Meet2nd October 2013
Hyderabad Friends of Max organized its Regional Meeting. The venue Sri Agrasen Gardens looked plush with greenery and the main hall was splendid with bright sunlight pouring in from the open entrance. Volunteers from the core-group got down to work from early morning– putting up banners, arranging registration counters, seating, the podium, sound system…
People coming in from neighboring districts of Hyderabad, started arriving as early as 7am. Breakfast and refreshments were arranged for early comers. Soon enough registration counters were bustling with activity, as queues started forming. PCR buttons and kit bags were distributed to all. Soon enough the hall was filled to a capacity of 500+ participants at the least.
The day’s program commenced at 9.30am, with the welcome address and National Anthem. A young Yoga instructor from Nature Cure centre conducted a demonstrative workshop on Pranayama and simple yoga exercises for healthy living.
A little after 10am, Beena introduced the doctors and invited them onto the dais for lighting the lamp. She then introduced Viji — looking radiant (dressed in white) and cheerfully energetic as always :-). Viji gave an overview about Max, the formation of Max Foundation and its activities, GIPAP program, and most prominently about PCR awareness – ‘What is MY PCR?’ – Which was the main premise of this regional meet. Sudha followed it with a presentation on Compliance/ Adherence and emphasized the importance of carrying the necessary documents for collection of medicines.
This was followed by the much awaited Q & A session – The expert panel consisting of: Dr SVSS Prasad (Apollo hospital), Dr Senthil Rajappa & Dr Krishna Mohan (IACI), Dr Raghunath Rao & Dr Vijay Gandhi (NIMS) and Dr Ravi Kumar (Global hospital). An array of queries were addressed, from the most common ones pertaining to side-effects, to the most significant issues related to PCR testing, marriage and pregnancy. Dr Raghunath Rao encouraged the patients to come forward and get the PCR test done at NIMS, where it is done a nominal cost of Rs.2000. And for those who could not even afford that, he promised to do it for free.
Dr K Raghu (mainstay of FOM Hyderabad) closed the session with a crisp narration of his 14 year CML journey – how far he had come in life since his diagnosis and how he felt much more energetic now – thereby encouraging and motivating the first-timers.
Post Lunch session — Core-group members enacted a small skit on compliance, stressing the need for daily medication without fail, keeping up with doctor’s appointments, and the importance of PCR testing. Thereafter, a few from the audience shared their testimonials and expressed their gratitude towards doctors, Viji, TMF and FOM for organizing such awareness meetings. The event ended with Mimicry artist and Tollywood comedian having the audience in splits with his mimicry of various politicians, film stars, animals and such.
At the end of the day, the participants benefited from the meeting — gained information and knowledge, and also found solace in meeting others who have been thru similar situations, which would help them in finding hope and dealing with fears about their future.
Maximo — Book Launch & Book reading sessions
6pm – 2nd October 2013 – Viji, Beena, Sudha, FOM members and young kids gathered at Landmark Book store for the launch of Maximo and a book reading session. Viji read out the English version of Maximo’s story to a keen and interactive audience. Dr Prasad, Dr Senthil and Dr Krishna Mohan joined us to show their support. The reading session was informative and interactive for those present in the audience, especially children.
Book reading events were scheduled at two premier hospitals also.
3rd October 2013 @ 3pm – Indo-American Cancer Institute – Pediatric Ward – About 35 kids (some with parents), treating doctors and counselors assembled in the pediatric hall, where Viji sat down along with the kids and interacted with them. The kids were all ears as Usha narrated the story in Telugu, as the story carried an important message on the struggle against cancer for children. The session was a good diversion for the children to make their worries disappear for a while and created a happy buzz in the ward.
5th October 2013 @ 2.30pm – NIMS – Learning Centre – About 100 people, including kids from pediatric wards, parents, doctors and related staff members, as also FOM, Beena and Sudha, assembled in the conference hall at NIMS for a book reading session in Telugu. Dr Gandhi and Dr Raghunath Rao had made excellent arrangements for the event. Usha kept the kids engrossed with her Telugu narration of Maximo’s story. Subsequently a magic show was put up to cheer the children. The show was a good diversion to make their worries disappear for a while and fill them with laughter.
At both the hospitals free copies of the books and goody bags were distributed to all the kids. It was heartening to see that the children forgot their pain, even if it was for a little while, and came forward to share their thoughts and aspirations with us. The children were delighted to see their ‘doctor uncles’ hang up their white physician coats, put away their stethoscopes, and spend some fun time with them.
Sailaja Kosuri, FOM Hyderabad