We bring together our GIST patients and their caregivers periodically for regular support group meetings. These meetings are held in different cities and the sharing and learning that takes place therein makes a great difference to the quality of the life of the patients who are living with the burden of the disease for prolonged periods of time.
Through interactive workshops and Q&A sessions with their treating physicians, these are a perfect platform for networking and disease management.
On Saturday 9 July 2016, we observed GIST Awareness Day as part of our quarterly GIST patients’ Support Group Meeting. This year we added a personal touch to the proceedings by hosting it at The Max Foundation office.
The theme this year – The Gift of Time and the logo – an hourglass, with each grain of sand representing a moment in time that has been definitive in the journey from diagnosis to treatment and thereafter; resonates with what we constantly advocate: of how any experience, personal or shared with friends and loved ones, is worth cherishing. Any experience, if expressed and shared, gives our patients the strength to cope with what is an extremely rare sarcoma.
The day’s break from the rains was providential. We had our presentation about The Max Foundation and Friends of Max (FOM) followed by a very comprehensive report on the New Horizons GIST meet at Sitges, Barcelona by Dr. Nikhil Guhagarkar, FOM volunteer.
Other guests for the day were Dr.Jude Vaz – Friends of Max and Head of Pathology at Holy Family Hospital at Mumbai, who explained in layman language about what GIST was; Jerry Pinto, a well-known Indian writer of poetry, prose and children’s fiction and journalist, who spoke about coping and sharing and had the audience listening to him in rapt attention. Dr. P. Jagannath Chairman, Dept. of Surgical Oncology Lilavati Hospital & Research Centre, given his busy schedule could not join us personally, but ensured his support with a skype session. Dr. Jagannath shared his vast knowledge with patients and care-givers and extended the message that ‘sharing’ is fundamental to the success of this year’s special gathering.
Celebrating the theme ‘Gift of Time’, everyone contributed their ‘grain of sand’ on paper and pinned it to the hourglass. We also had a cake which was cut by our ‘oldest’ and ‘youngest’ Glivec members!.
It was indeed a wonderful day and the pictures say it all!