Report by FOM Volunteer Karan Vyas
On 6 January 2018 CML and GIST patients support group meeting was held from 9 am to 4 pm at Lions Hall, near Mithakhali Charrasta, Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
At the venue at around 8:30 am Viji Venkatesh, Friends of Max members and Karunakare Foundation (an NGO founded by FOM Trustee Ushakant Shah) arrived and set up the desk for registration of the CML and GIST patients. Patients from all around Gujarat started arriving at the venue from 9:00 am each and everyone was registered, their address, phone numbers were registered and they were all batched with their names. All of them were given the literature of The Max Foundation, FOM, CML, GIST, Newsletters regarding the meeting.
Registration was followed up with breakfast and around 10:30 am all of us settled in the hall and some inspirational videos of some patients were shown on the projector. And the meeting was called into attention for the National Anthem.
At 10:35 am, Introduction to Max with a wonderful photo of him on the projector was shown and introduces that who was Max and how he suffered from CML like us and how and why The Max Foundation came into existence was explained to everyone by Viji Venkatesh.
Around 11:10 am, myself Karan Vyas, CML patient enrolled with The Max Foundation under GIPAP taking Glivec since 2004 and an active member of Friends Of Max (FOM), gave the introduction of Friends Of Max with a presentation and explained in brief about what it is and how it is active in every cities as a helping hand to each individual affected by CML or GIST and make sure the together we share and learn.
At 11:30 am with the Medical Experts arriving they were welcomed by all of us and a Question and Answer session was begun. This session was chaired by Dr Pankaj Shah, Dr Chirag Shah, Dr Deepa Trivedi and Dr Bharat Parikh. Patients having any kind of questions regarding their disease were answered in brief by the Doctors.
At 12:55 pm Vote of Thanks was given by Mr. Ajay Gandhi a CML survivor and an active member of FOM. It was followed up by lunch at the venue itself for everyone present in the meeting.
Around 2:00 pm after the lunch all of us gathered again at the hall and were divided into four groups according to our batch colors, and an interactive Quiz about knowing CML/GIST was begun by our Amma Viji Venkatesh. That Quiz was all about general questions regarding CML/GIST, The Max Foundation, FOM, Glivec and many other terms very important for the patients to know about, Viji Venkatesh provided necessary knowledge to all of us in the form of fun and every individual present at the meeting very actively participated in that Quiz. After the Quiz a singing session was begun and very joyous atmosphere were created in the meeting by Amma everyone started to feel like a family, singing songs, holding hands and supporting each other.
Around 4:00 pm closing of the meeting was done with Tea at the Venue. The Meeting provided lot of knowledge to the patients about CML and GIST as well as the meeting has given them faith in their lives to live with joy and confidence, with the help of stories of few of us taking Glivec since many years and living our lives as normal and even more interestingly than others made them fearless and they came to know that they are not Alone!
Special thanks to Amma for everything as well as to The Max Foundation, Friends of Max (FOM) and everyone directly or indirectly connected with this family.