We had a Bangalore Friends of Max Chapter meet for the first time at Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology. This is one of the most well known Government hospitals from where the maximum number of patients benefit from the patient assistance programme . We had a patient list of around 250, which we divided amongst core members and called them up to attend this meeting. The response was pretty good and we had more than 170 recipients and family members attend the meeting (all in & around Bangalore)
We began the session with a brief talk by the HOD, Dept of Medical Oncology, Dr Lakshmaiah, and then Medical Director, Dr. Vijay Kumar addressed the gathering . After an introduction to The Max Foundation and a description of the programme set in place by Novartis we had the Compliance Exercise led by Amma & Beena.
This was a real ice breaker for the gathered recipients. This led to something really touching. When we had the testimonials after the Compliance Exercise, people walked up to the Dias without hesitation and spoke about their experience, gratefulness to Max Foundation and Novartis and how happy they have been living after taking Glivec. This was a true”Together we share & learn” episode.
We then had the Patient Advocacy session, where we took the help of Dr. Janet Parameshwaran, Social Welfare Officer at Kidwai, to understand the problems being faced by recipients and how FOM could pitch in. We had a good response to this and FOM now has a couple of key areas where it could help.
Just when we were ending this session, Dr. Loknath came in, to address patients queries and doubts – a Q&A session. And the doctor answered the queries in a diligent and easy to understand manner, especially since the majority of the gathering were from the rural areas.
Soon after this session we broke for lunch. And we could safely assume that the meeting had a very beneficial outcome for the recipients and their relatives. We were sure the gathering would be bigger the next time we called for a meeting.
People were pretty happy to know a lot about what Max Foundation is, who is Max, that the drug actually comes from Novartis through The Max Foundation. And all were also happy to know that they were not alone with this disease, and it was now like a big family.
After Lunch, we had a discussion with Dr. Janet, Amma & Beena about how to go about lending a helping hand. We decided that the FOM Bangalore City Chapter volunteers would contribute towards the expenses incurred by certain “below poverty line” patients and maybe re-imburse bus tickets of patients when they come to the hospital (yes “below poverty line” cases at Kidwai includes people who won’t have money to have one square meal a day, so they skip coming to the hospital hoping they could save that for their food..!)
We need to work out the modalities on how to extend this financial assistance, based on discussions amongst FOM, Bangalore& the Budgets available. But we hopefully wish to start this soon and would like to see a day where our small assistance would help someone in need….lead their life to the MAX..!
Report by Rajeev R