Aspire to Inspire: FOM (All India) Leadership Summit, Pune

The stage was set for a Friends of Max – All India Leadership Summit to be held at Pune on 20th and 21st April, 2013.

The Pune brigade had been extremely eager in hosting the meeting.  Preparation for the meet had been in the works for over a year by both MAX (Viji and her “Ace-team”) as well as the champion Pune FOM volunteers. 
125 Friends of Max (FOM) leaders converged from various city chapters which included Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Srinagar, Chennai, Bhubaneshwar, Indore, Calicut, Ranchi, Kanpur, Hyderabad, Cuttack, Tripura, besides other towns and cities.  Most FOM leaders coming to Pune for the meeting arrived on 20th while some coming from afar arrived a day earlier.  The idea was to provide the 125 odd leaders a set of skills, knowledge base & information from a panel of expert doctors, specialists and veterans in their respective fields.  
Before the meeting, all FOM travelers from outside Pune were well settled at YASHDA due to the hospitality and arrangements by the Pune FOM.  

20-Apr-13, Registration 8:30am
When I walked in to the YASHDA auditorium, the scene was different from the ones I’d witnessed earlier.  The Pune FOM volunteers had coordinated an amazing dress code with head gear (easily identifiable from a mile away).  This registration was different from any other.  Almost everyone knew one another by way of email communication or past All India meetings.  Everybody had been involved in one way or another to make a difference in the FOM community.  The FOM leaders all had one thing in common – their Aspiration to Inspire.

20-Apr-13, Preface
•   Welcome segment by hosts, the Pune FOM City Chapter. 
This segment included an amazing performance of a folk dance by a troop of professional dancers.  But what won everyone’s heart was the audio visual made by the Pune Chapter on their year plus’ preparation for the big day. All the excitement and nervous energies captured in candid camera

•   FOM through the years 2003 – 2013  – A Decade of Discovery
Viji took us through her memory bank of the last ten years via a  journey of FOM through the past decade – depicted by a collection of photographs woven together by milestones achieved by FOM. 

•   The Bhai & Bhidu Show by Pramod and Nirmesh (Mumbai FOM): The Sneak Preview !
As always, Pramod and Nirmesh tickled a rib(or two) of everyone by cleaverly informing the leaders gathered of snippets of various sessions to follow.

•   Chief Guest’s Address:  Mr. Ranjit Shahani , Country President , Novartis India .

Session 1
Clinical Session -: The Disease and its management today.
Chaired by Dr M B Agarwal & Dr Pankaj Malhotra .
CML – Overview by Dr Sameer Melinkeri, Pune
The role of Imatinib in the management of CML today by Dr Dinesh Bhurani, Delhi
The role of Nilotinib in the management of CML today by Dr Anantbhushan Ranade, Pune,
The Role of Dasatinib in the management of CML today by Dr Ganapathy Ramanan, Chennai
Other Medical Treatment Options in the management of CML today by Dr Rejiv Rajendranath, Chennai
Importance of Compliance by Dr Debanshu Bhaduri, Pune
Role of Monitoring CML by Dr Padmaj  Kulkarni, Pune
Can treatment be stopped? When and if so Why. By Dr Tapan Saikia , Mumbai
GIPAP / NOA  The future of Access Programs in the region by Lucy Hickinbotham, Head of Oncology Affairs – Asia Pacific Region at Novartis Pharmaceuticals
The impact of NOA/GIPAP on the non-medical  management of CML and GIST survivors by Pat Garcia- Gonzalez, Founder and Executive Director , The Max Foundation

Session 2

Friends of Max  – What does it mean to be the biggest CML Support Group in the world
Chairpersons : Parameswaran Trustee  FOM & Viji Venkatesh Managing Trustee FOM and Country Head India , the Max Foundation
•  MAX ‘s rationale behind facilitating support and advocacy groups   – Pat Garcia- Gonzalez , Founder and Executive Director , The Max Foundation – 20mts
•  Friends of Max – History and evolvement of a unique patient support group –  Nirmesh Prakash  Trustee, FOM  – 20 mts
•  Funding a patient support group – How to raise funds and sustain the Trust – Tina Vajpeyi, ex CFO , The Akanksha Foundation – 20 mts
•  Advocacy – the need of the hour. How a patient support group can influence / shape policy  – Dr Lalit Kumar , Adviser, Planning Commission  , Govt of India
•  Q & A session

End of day I
The end of day almost felt like the start of something new.  A conference dinner was followed by Live music by talented Sairam.  The day was ended by our very own Pat Garcia-Gonzalez who shared with us her awareness project for the coming year –   the story of ‘Maximo & the Big C’ the book to be launched later this year.  And we had the author Viji read to us from the book itself .

Start of Day II: 21-Apr-13 6:30am
Art of Living: An introductory talk on Sudarshan Kriya, and a Guided Meditation Session FOM City Chapter Leader  Rishi Ajatshatru, Ranchi.
This was enlightening to me.  FOM leaders were asked to sit, relax with eyes closed.  For what seemed like 3-5 minutes only; Rishi made us all meditate for almost 20 minutes to everyone’s amazement.  It was truly rejuvenating and all the FOM leaders were set to begin day II refreshed. 

Session 3
Long term survivors’ needs in the work place and in the community.
Chairpersons: Amitabh Iyer and Manoj Panicker – FOM City Chapter Leaders , Bangalore and Mumbai
•  Relevance and need for Insurance for long term survivors : The Indian Scenario – Sunder Krishnan, Trustee FOM
•  Coping with discrimination in the work place. Avenues for upward growth in career of choice Nirmesh Prakash , Trustee FOM
From childhood through young – adulthood, to a fulfilling life as a senior citizen of the community
Members of the Panel :  FOM City Chapter Leaders
• Harshad Purandhare – Pune
• Abhinav Tomar – Hyderabad
• Anil Nagpal  – Delhi
• Vikram Kumar Jain – Bangalore
• Nikhil Batra – Pune
• Ravi Ahuja  – Delhi
• Dr Jude – Mumbai
• Dr Raghu – Hyderabad
• Rajat Mazumdar –  Kolkata

Session 4
Managing your resources as a productive and effective Patient Support Group.
Chairpersons: Sriram  Ranganathan, Trustee FOM  and Neel Kankani, Kolkata City Chapter Leader
•  How to organise meetings in your region  –   Beena Narayanan and Ayeshah  Dadachanji , Max India
•  Identifying, training and retaining Volunteers  –  Viji Venkatesh
PANEL DISCUSSION : Becoming the Instrument and vehicle of change  & choosing your partners in community service.
Members of the Panel – FOM City Chapter Leaders
• Kerul Patel- Mumbai
• Rajeev R- Bangalore
• Dr Manoj Joshi – Bombay
• Rajdeep Singh-Delhi
• Abhishek Patidar-Pune
• KSG Shankar-Bangalore
• Prashant – Patna
• Armaan Basheer –Hyderabad
• Shaji T – Ernakulam

End of Day II
The day ended with lunch and an opportunity for all Leaders to mingle, share and learn and most importantly to exchange contacts to take things forward. 

The beginning of Aspire to Inspire
I leave with no doubt in my mind that the Aspire to Inspire leadership summit will have a lasting impact.  India is a country of immense diversity by language, culture, ethnic groups etc.  It was paramount for MAX to have had such a summit. 
Aspire:  The leaders aspired to learn from the panel of doctors, professionals, experts and veterans in their respective fields.  They aspired to learn also from peers amongst leaders by way of interaction both personally as well as by way of formal panel discussions.  They Aspired to Inspire those under their care
Inspire: The leaders would take back to their respective communities a set of skills, knowledge base and information with the help from physicians, experts and veterans in the field.  This would help in their endeavor for their cause to nurture and comfort their newer and younger peers in their local community with confidence. 

The Max Foundation’s success lies on the collective efforts of those responsible for its conception, execution and management.  My special thanks to Mr. Shahani, Pat , Viji Amma and her “Ace-team”, the entire panel of doctors and specialists who participated in the leadership summit.  A special acknowledgement and thanks to Sujeesh for the quiet but special effort in making sure all the technical support for Day I and day II of Aspire to Inspire went without any flaws.   

Reported by
Kerul Patel, FOM Mumbai