Dawn of Hope – Meeting Report

On 27th August 2022, The Max Foundation and Friends of Max hosted a Virtual Support Group Meeting to commemorate 20 years of the launch of Max’s Access Program which provided access to the lifesaving drug – Glivec – to thousands of patients in South Asia.

Patient leaders from not just India but all over the subcontinent joined us at this celebration where they shared their journey of living with CML. It included a story-telling session and fun activities specially curated by the Max team to bring the community closer together in line with the FOM Motto: “Together We Share and Learn”.

Max’s Programme Officer Beena Narayanan and Region Head, South Asia, Viji Venkatesh kicked off the programme followed by a brain-teasing ice breaker session, hosted by FOM Trustee S. Parameswaran and Max’s Ashika Naik and Komal Surve.

Following this, the enigmatic patient leaders present at this meeting – Karan Vyas and Leena D’Silva (India), Shova Karki (Nepal), Shofiur Rahman Sohag (Bangladesh) and Rushmie Fernando (Sri Lanka) – each shared their incredible journeys from patients to patient leaders in the segment “Journey of 20 years”. The session was anchored by FOM Trustee Pramod George and Max’s Urvashi Negi, and saw everyone in attendance listen with rapt attention and cheer the speakers who took the spotlight one after the other!

After what can easily be called an emotional rollercoaster for many in the audience, it was time for a light-hearted musical segment to trace the 20-year journey of a patient – with the help of illustrations from the cartoon show “Tom and Jerry” and our patient leaders singing to popular Bollywood and regional folk music. The segment was headed by FOM City Chapter Leader Avinash Dev and Max’s Shalini Anush and Sweta Agrawal.

Finally, the event was wrapped up by Max’s Jyotiy Parameshwaran and FOM’s Aashray Paul as they delivered the Vote of Thanks and opened the stage for anyone who wished to come forward and share their thoughts. And come forward they did!

In what was easily one of the most interactive and emotional meetings, the impassioned patient leaders from all over the country and beyond took the opportunity to speak their minds, refusing to say goodbye and expressing their gratitude to the “Magic Bullet” for helping them live their lives with dignity and hope.