GIST Patient Support Group Meeting @ 6 Jan 2018

Report by FOM Volunteer Rashmi Sachade

On the first Saturday of the year (6 Jan 2018) The Max Foundation along with Tata Memorial Hospital arranged a delightful meeting for all the GIST patients in Mumbai. It was one of those Patient Support Group Meetings where you learn more about your disease and have fun while doing it.

The moment Ameya saw me she came almost running to me, and gave me the warmest hug ever. It is this warmth and love from the Max team that brings me to each and every one of their meetings. I quickly registered myself and soon saw the others arriving. All patients, or rather Heroes as the people at Max like to call us, came with their caregivers and registered their names. And the best part of the registration is clicking so many happy pictures right at the start of the event. All the talking and picture clicking at the registration desk always makes all the passersby wonder what we’ve actually gathered for!

The meeting started with the National Anthem of India followed by an introductory slide show of the Max Foundation, Max India and the Friends of Max, conducted by Priyanka Kandalgaokar. She then handed over the mike to Dr. Nikhil Guhagarkar, a FOM volunteer. He had recently attended a seminar on efforts for developing a breakthrough diagnostic test for patients. He gave us some insights on how the diagnostic test will be better than the current diagnosis procedure.

Then started the fun part! Vijaya conducted a quiz for all of us, where we were divided into 4 teams, according to the colour of our name tags and Dr. Nikhil was judging the competition. It was a really good learning experience, because wherever we got stuck or did not know something about our disease or diagnosis, Dr. Nikhil helped us out.

Soon after the quiz Dr. Manish Bhandare, a young oncologist from the Tata Memorial Hospital joined us for a Question and Answer round. The session was extremely satisfactory as Dr. Manish patiently answered all our queries. His way of understanding and then explaining to us even the most basic things showed of his rich experience in the field.

But the big surprise element of the day was Dr. Shailesh Shrikhande joining us! Dr. Shrikhande is one of the most loved doctors amongst the patients. And knowing that he took out time from his busy schedule to meet us, we were all really happy. Of course, I had to take a picture with him!

The meeting ended on this high note. Ameya Surve gave a vote of thanks to the doctors and the Tata Memorial Hospital. I couldn’t help but thank the Max Foundation team and Viji Maa.

It was a fantastic meeting! And we really missed you Viji Maa, hope to see you soon in the next meeting.