Ajay Gandhi

Friends of Max’s Patient Advocate for the month of May 2022 is our City Chapter Leader from Ahmedabad, Ajay Gandhi.

Ajay grew up in Ahmedabad, Gujarat along with two older siblings. His father was the Assistant General Manager at a cooperative bank and he led a comfortable childhood along with his two older siblings. In the second year of his graduation, he started working at a Chartered Accountant’s office. It was here that he discovered his passion for accountancy and went on to obtain a First Class degree in BCom. Post graduation, Ajay began his professional career at Anagram Finance and by 1992, he had started his own accountancy firm where he wrote accounts for people and businesses that could not afford a computer.

In the year 2002, Ajay was diagnosed with CML. He was 29 at the time and the breadwinner of his family. He also had a two-year-old son to look after. After being treated with Hydrea briefly, Ajay’s treating physician referred him to The Max Foundation from where he started receiving his supply of Glivec in July 2003.

Ajay met the Friends of Max for the first time in 2007 at a Patient Support Group Meeting organized by Max and FOM in Ahmedabad. That was the beginning of his long association with the organisation. Since then, he has attended all FOM events organized in Gujarat and is actively involved in organizing these. He helps the Max team call patients in the state informing them about upcoming events and also addresses and motivates the crowds present there. Ajay is also a big supporter of FOM’s awareness-cum-fundraising initiative, Chai for Cancer and makes it a point to make his presence felt at all CFC Addas organized in Ahmedabad.

When asked if he has any special memories with FOM, Ajay fondly recalls his experience at the FOM Leadership Summit organized at Hyderabad in 2016 where he got a lot of exposure and got to meet City Chapter Leaders and patient advocates from all over the country.

Being a proud cancer survivor, Ajay also makes it a point to counsel and motivate all cancer patients who approach him after being diagnosed. He also helps the Karunakare Foundation – the non-profit run by FOM Trustee Ushakant Shah – organise their meetings in the state.

“I lead a very happy life today”, says Ajay, who now runs his consultancy firm and also has a lights and electricals business that he manages with his former colleagues. His son, who was two at the time of Ajay’s diagnosis is well-settled and was married in February this year. He adds, “My dreams were delayed because of this disease, but thanks to The Max Foundation’s help, I was able to fulfil them nevertheless.”

Ajay has a message of hope for our readers. He says, “Fear and shock are obvious emotions when you are first diagnosed with this cancer, but it is important not to lose hope as it is a must to win this battle. Believing in yourself, taking the medicine regularly, keeping a positive mindset and having a strong willpower will take you a long way. Just believe in yourself and all your problems will slowly fade away. And if you have it good for yourself, make sure to help others and motivate them in their time of need.”