International CML Awareness Day 22nd September (9/22)

22nd September has been proclaimed International Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) day by various patient organizations and their support groups around the world. 

The day has been purposefully picked to symbolize the genetic inter-change of chromosomes 9 and 22 which consequently causes CML. 

Declaring 22nd September as International CML day helps bring people diagnosed with CML together to share their stories and learn from one another’s experiences.  It gives an opportunity to create awareness about the importance of timely access of treatment and care for people living with CML.  

International CML day was launched on 22nd September 2011. 

22nd Sep-2011 at the Max India office – Mumbai

Various support groups from Friends of Max (FOM) met at the Max India office in Mumbai.  The turnout was pretty impressive as people took time out around noon from their daily routine to meet up on a working day.  Also present were three senior onco-hematologists Dr. Sunil Parekh, Dr. Hari Menon and Mr. and Mrs. Agarwal along with representatives from Novartis India which included Mr. Ranjit Shahani.  It was a fun filled day with sumptuous snacks and a cake being cut by Mr. Shahani to celebrate life.  The informal gathering at Max India office, made it easy for CML patients to introduce themselves and subsequently interact for the rest of the afternoon with each other. 

All the CML patients signed the International CML day proclamation poster created by Mellissa from The Max Foundation.  The poster was signed by doctors and Mr. Shahani as well. 

The joy of being together and sharing experiences with one another is something else.  One major concern for people living with CML is medication or drug  fatigue (generally referred to patients stopping medication for various reasons after long term use).  This issue was clearly addressed by the doctors to all the people with CML.  Compliance of taking the prescribed daily dose of Glivec is of critical importance for CML patients. 

An experience shared and unanimously agreed by all was that people lived a near normal life with CML after having overcome the initial side effects of the daily dose of Glivec prescribed by their respective physicians.  All the patients shared their testimonials and expressed their gratitude towards Novartis, their physicians and The Max Foundation as the CML survivors are living life with Leukemia to the fullest and enjoying their Life. 

Declaring 22nd September as International CML day is a fantastic idea as each year it will give an opportunity to address issues related to and by people living with CML along with doctors and physicians not only in India but around the world. 

This year too Friends of Max and The MAX team in India, along with Tata Hospital has planned a big event on the 22nd. Watch this space for more .

By Kerul Patel, Mumbai India
CML since September 2003