FOM’s First ever meeting in Bhubhaneshwar – Celebration of Life 2009

Date: 24 October 2009
Venue: Infosys Auditorium, Bhubhaneshwar

From a mere date in my routine calendar, 24th October, 2009 has gone on to become a very significant day in my life. Significant because it re-thrust the power of belief and conviction in me to contribute my endeavour to the cause that the entire humanity must enroll themselves as a part to. Significant, because it made me proud for being a part of the “Max Foundation”.
The beautiful day starting from initial introductions snowballed into meaningful discussions and motivating insight into understanding and helping the cause of cancer worldwide. I would like to briefly sum up the day’s proceeding as following:  

  • National Anthem
  • Presentation on functionalities of Max Foundation & Glivec – the magic pill
  • Sharing of experiences by no. of patients
  • Interaction session with panel of doctors
  • Workshop on volunteering
  • Inspirational talk by eminent Oriya film actor Hara Pattanaik
  • Concluding speech by Viji Amma

In particular the very efforts of providing cost free cancer medication to numerous cancer patients in Orissa is extremely plausible. I on behalf of team-Orissa would like to heartily congratulate Viji Amma for her constant whole-hearted dedication. I would also like to extend my warm regards and thanks to Ms. Darlene from Max Foundation, Seattle office for sharing her experience and insight with us. My thanks to Gita for so well organizing the meeting in Bhubaneswar. My sincere thanks to the eminent doctors who joined us on the day in spite of their busy preoccupations. My thanks to Mr.Omprakash and family to contribute his heart for the first ever Max Meeting in Orissa.
In all I am completely indebted and hope to contribute my best towards the objective of the foundation and looking forward to have such togetherness periodically in Orissa.
Thanks & Regards
Ranjan Dash

Continues Viji : For me this first ever FOM Meeting in BBSR (as the city of Bhubaneswar is referred to by its gung ho citizens) was defined by Ranjan’s comments just before we began the post lunch session and the Volunteer Training workshop. When asked what were his feelings as we went on towards the the second half of the day he had this to say “ Today I see in the faces around me , recognition and reassurance ; and I feel encouraged for I also see today here, for the first time , a kind of eager bonding that has taken place and a “team” of FOM Volunteers who want to do something , some kind of a collective service to society “ 
Yes, the Bhubaneswar Chapter of Friends of Max was born !!  

Thanks to veteran FOM Gautam’s amazing friends in Infosys BBSR , we were allowed to have the meeting in their simply wonderful campus . No words can describe their generosity for not only did they allow us to use all their facilities, they let us into their hearts and provided us with practically an army of support staff that stayed and worked with us the whole day.

From framing and putting up the banners to having the auditorium ready and the kits bags packed this enthusiastic team did everything. We had the best audio visual and other tech support too and by the time the first participants began to trickle in even the balloons were blown and hung up on the walls. 

I must confess that the first hour barely saw a dozen or so walk in and there was a slight furrow on our collective brows but by 11 am the place was packed with a steady stream of participants at  the registration desk. 

Ranjan and OP met each one of the group personally and after a hot cuppa and biscuits to munch were served saw to it that they were all seated comfortably. Once the programme began there was no holding them back. Be it walking up to the dais to share testimonials or ask questions of the Panel , participation was wholehearted and proactive . 

I must mention the absolute adoration and respect with which Dr R K Jena was welcomed by all those present. When he walked in it was as though a movie star had walked in with everyone coming up to him and touching his feet. He led the Panel discussion expertly , ably supported by Dr Ghanshyam Biswas ( ex Tata Hospital and a dear friend to so many of our FOM) our own ‘Dr” Sheshadari of FOM Kolkata fame and Dr Pramod Sahu , practicing gyneacologist and a GIPAP recipient himself from Orissa. 

If Dr Jena reminded us of a movie star , then we had a real movie star join us too. Hara Patnaik is a name everyone in Orissa is familiar with . He is the most well known and admired Oriya film maker and actor and himself on Glivec since the last two years. As he walked up to the podium to share his story the audience listened in admiration and loving respect . Once in his seat after the presentation , he was besieged by eager fans for autographs and photographs . 

Lunch was arranged in the Infosys canteen and amidst much laughter and happy conversations we feasted on some amazing food. It was then time for everyone to get down to the next segment of the day’s programme – an interactive workshop aimed at getting everyone to connect with each other through their answers to the questions “Why do we Volunteer ? “ and “ What were my initial reactions to the diagnosis?”  

Four groups were formed , leaders chosen and then it was down to the business of discussions and documentation of the outcomes of those discussions . The group leaders then came up to share their group’s dissertations which I would like to share here …

Why do I want to be a volunteer?

Yellow Group.


  • Because it is an inspiration from within us that we cannot ignore.
  • Facilitate dissemination of information.
  • Provide Counseling support to others.
  • Support the lesser endowed people in the society.
  • To work for the rights of the people.


Green Group.


  • Sharing experience about CML.
  • To help all people suffering from CML and give moral support.
  • Create awareness about Glivec GIPAP programme and getting guidance from Max Foundation.
  • Personal satisfaction
  • To make friends in Friends in FOM group.
  • To accept challenge against CML.


Blue Group.


  • It is a noble activity.
  • Creating awareness.
  • Physical and mental support.
  • Learning and sharing through interaction.
  • Creating a sense of belongingness.
  • Willingness to serve the society.


Orange Group.


  • To serve the society.
  • Encourage support on Humanitarian grounds.
  • To help the weaker sections.
  • Self satisfaction.
  • Eradicate sorrow and bring happiness.
  • Greener environment.


What was the reaction after diagnosis?

Yellow Group


  • Fear psychosis.
  • Concerns about Treatment cost
  • Concerns about availabity of medicines
  • Belief in God strengthened
  • Concern about fate of family
  • Survival –
  • What support would be available from the government 

Green Group


  • Support from family .
  • Initial state of shock and depression
  • Dependence on God – Spiritual sources of comfort
  • Acknowledgement that at any cost patient will be taken care of
  • Issue of sharing with family and friends.


Blue Group


  • Hopelessness.
  • Helplessness.
  • Lack of financial resources.
  • Lack of knowledge.
  • Negative thoughts
  • Inclination towards God.


Orange Group


  • Life is very short.
  • Everyday is a new day.
  • Enjoy the life to fullest.
  • Life is beautiful.
  • Life is meaningful.
  • Life is a challenge.
  • Life is to survive.
  • Life is to fight.

The discussions were lively and the relatively large group was very engaged in questioning each other’s points , acknowledging some , debating others and soon it was time to break for tea and Max’s Birthday cake . The day came to an end with lots of pictures taken and fond, protracted farewells taken from each other. And promises taken from us of another meeting to be held as soon as possible !! That was a promise happily given and will be even more happily kept .