Report by FOM Volunteer Seema Goud
The Annual FOM Patient Support Group Meeting for CML & GIST Patients was held in Aurangabad on 25th Nov 2018 at Indian Medical Association (IMA House) in Samarth Nagar, Aurangabad. This was the third Patient Support Group meeting in a row and this was a full house too. Over 150+ patients & caregivers had participated in this meeting.
The Pune FOM Volunteers managed to reach the venue at sharp 8:30 am on the day of the event. Before us Amma, Ameya, Subhash Sable and his team in Blue had already taken charge of the venue and had started doing the arrangements for the meeting.
As always, charismatic Amma welcomed each of one us with her most powerful ‘Jadoo ki Zhappi’ which gave us all the energy and enthusiasm to sustain till the end of the show.
We then promptly took charge of the registration counter, banners were placed, and we started registering the names of the patients, phone numbers, and then provided them with the FOM newsletters, and FAQ’s materials in all regional languages.
Amma in her own unique way started to connect her chord with each of the patients and their family members by inquiring them about their history of the disease, their physicians name and so on … each one of them were blissfully communicating with her and enjoyed capturing the moments by clicking some random selfies with her.
Registration was followed up with breakfast and at around 10:30 am all of us settled in the hall and the meeting was called into attention with our National Anthem and then Honorable Dr. Jayant Indurkar addressed the crowd and shared his rich experience of working with cancer patients and the importance of having such support group meetings. He expressed his gratitude for Max, Novartis and FOM for assisting needy patients for all these years.
The next segment covered two crucial presentations. The first one ‘The Journey of Life ‘was covered by Amma, where she took us through the Diagnosis of Cancer, what impact does it do on Patient’s life and the role of Max in each of our lives.
The second presentation was done by Ameya, in the regional language, Marathi, where she introduced us to ‘Friends of Max (FOM)’. She explained us the purpose and aim of this support group and how it strives hard to make a difference in a patient’s life by providing financial, emotional and informational support. She also spoke about Chai for Cancer initiative and how it lends a helping hand in raising funds and creating awareness. She shared the process of Bcr-Abl reimbursement that FOM provides to the needy patients to undergo the necessary monitoring test.
This was followed by a Q&A Session which was chaired by Dr. Jayant Indurkar. Patients and their caregivers came up with all their queries related to CML & GIST and discussed all their issues which included- side effects and ways of managing those, queries on CML being contagious / hereditary, the need of periodic Bcr-Abl monitoring tests. Dr. Indurkar single handedly conducted this entire session and answered all the queries very patiently. There were few patients who also shared their testimonies.
This session was concluded with the mandatory Group Photo and the Vote of thanks.
Post Lunch we had a very fascinating and happening session waiting for us- ‘The Art Therapy Workshop’. This was conducted by our very own Amma and Ameya. This session was the pinnacle of this meeting and was a super success. Right from Dr. Indurkar, his family, patients and their caregivers participated whole heartedly in this workshop. For over two hours, the auditorium was a riot of colors and each one of them was totally engrossed in this therapy. The audience was divided into 4 groups and each group identified an emotion that matched the color of their name cards viz. Hope, Love, Courage and Peace which resulted in a fabulous collection of artwork. Each of the groups then came forward and shared their picture and explained us the colour they picked and its association with the themes they had picked.
The meeting was then ended with the powerful song ‘Hum Honge Kamyab’ the Hindi version of ‘We shall overcome’ which very aptly concluded our day. Overall the meeting was highly successful and lot of takeaways for one and all.
Special thanks to Amma, Ameya, Dr. Jayant Indurkar, Subhash Sable & his Team Blue, and last but not the least Pune FOM Team for arranging such a wonderful meeting and executing it so well.