Our Patient Advocate of the Month of March 2020 is Mrs. Vasamvada Shukla – Friends of Max City Chapter Leader from Mumbai. Vasamvada ji grew up in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh where she graduated from YD College, Lakhimpur and then moved to Bombay to pursue her post graduate degree from Bombay Teacher’s Training College.
Speaking of her family, she said, “My family has been my strongest support & strength in my battle with GIST. My husband is a retired Commander of the India Navy & has been my back bone in my journey. He has walked with me tightly holding and never letting go of my hand from time of the diagnosis till date. He has never left my side & has always encouraged & supported me during my treatment. He has always been with me in
whatever I did during my working as well as my post-retirement years. I have two daughters who are both qualified & successful professionals in their respective fields. They are both happily married to equally qualified & successful professionals. We are blessed with four beautiful, super-charged & super-energetic grandchildren.”
Vasamvada ji enjoys cooking for her family. She stated that it gives her great happiness when her children ask her to cook something for them and watching them relish every bite of her meals gives her immense joy. She also loves travelling and meeting people. In addition to this, she is a part of her residential society’s cultural committee and is responsible for organizing various cultural events with other residents living there.
Vasamvada ji and her daughters have been actively involved with Friends of Max since its inception. They were part of the group of patients, caregivers and volunteers that came up with the idea of starting a support group in Mumbai.
“The idea went on to become a movement of sorts and is now a bonafide & registered trust in India. It has since grown manifold with chapters across many cities of India. Friends of Max is a platform for caring and sharing. it is heartening to see patient and caregivers sharing their experiences with each other. These meetings are a source of strength for everyone. It is so endearing to see everyone bond instantaneously and learn from each other. I am yet to attend a meeting which has not ended on an inspiring note. And when I attend such meetings I see the motto of FOM fully achieved & fulfilled,” she said.
During her tenure as the Principal of Marwari Vidyalaya High School, Mumbai she identified and adopted two female students from less affording economic backgrounds and paid for their educational expenses every year until her retirement. She continues to do so within her local community.
When asked to give out a message to fellow patients she said –
“I would like to tell everyone that they should not let any disease or diagnosis break them. The journey is definitely tough and unnerving at times but never impossible. There is always light and hope
at the end of the tunnel. The support & love of our families should motivate us never to give up. We should face challenges head-on & never ever give up in life.”