Friendships happen unexpectedly. It just needs two souls to understand each other upon meeting. Such is the story of our advocates Sailaja and Nandini. They met during the FOM Cochin Leadership Summit in 2016 and a casual interaction led to an intense camaraderie.
A graduate from Delhi University, Sailaja spent forty years of her life in Delhi and later moved to Hyderabad. Back in 2003 with Viji’s help, 10 CMLers from Hyderabad had met and decided to form a support group to share treatment related issues over phone and to support each other. Slowly, awareness meetings were conducted with over thirty to fifty patients and that small group is now our strong FOM Hyderabad Chapter with Sailaja being a force to reckon with in it. Her children were in primary school when she was diagnosed and both of them are graduates now. Her son is a software engineer and daughter a graphics designer. In those early dark and traumatic days of diagnosis and sixteen years since, her husband has been her constant support.
Best qualities do rub off one another in friendship and the same has been with these two City Chapter Leaders. Sailaja likes Nandini’s calm demeanour and grounded nature while Nandini loves the fact that Sailaja has never feared to step out of her comfort zone to be an avid traveller or follow her passion for cooking. In fact, she now dreams to be a solo traveller too!
Our Chennai girl Nandini has always been an active NGO volunteer, working towards eradicating hunger and encouraging women empowerment. Her association with FOM started in 2013 but active participation began after her interactions with City Chapter Leaders in our Leadership Summit. It was during this meet that she finally decided to shed her inhibitions and share her diagnosis of GIST. Two years back she moved to Hyderabad and united with her friend Sailaja. She now makes sure to attend all the meetings in the city and has made great friends with many in the group who are always around to help, share and care. She also has a daughter who is currently studying law.
Both our women achievers believe that we occupy a very small place in this world and there is more to Life than just feeling sorry for ourselves. We live once and this is like our second chance, so make most of it and enjoy even the smallest moments. What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger!
The unlikely joint platform of CML and GIST has indeed made these two friends bond in an amazing manner and become like family for each other. So much so, that it is hard not to spot these two together ever so often … We salute them and their infectious energy.