Dishant Bhatt

Friends of Max’s Patient Advocate of the Month is Dishant Bhatt, our City Chapter Leader from Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Dishant was born and raised in Vadodara. He was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia in 2003, when he was only in the eighth grade. His family visited several physicians and hospitals before finally meeting Dr Pankaj Shah at Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad. Dr Shah informed the family about “Glivec” and The Max Foundation’s programme to provide access to the drug in India.

Subsequently, Dishant’s parents enrolled him into Max’s GIPAP programme. He started visiting Ahmedabad once every four months for his treatment and follow-ups. It was during one of these visits to Ahmedabad in 2012 that he stopped by at a support group meeting organized by The Max Foundation and Friends of Max. “I met Amma (Viji Venkatesh) and Ayesha ma’am (Ayesha Dadachanji) at this meeting and it started my long relationship with The Max Foundation and Friends of Max”, says Dishant.

Dishant has been a regular and active participant in FOM’s events. He has attended all our support group meetings in Ahmedabad and Vadodara where he interacts with newly diagnosed patients and motivates them by sharing his personal experience. He has been a part of the FOM Leadership Summit at Hyderabad in 2015. He is also an active supporter of FOM’s fundraising-cum-awareness initiative ‘Chai for Cancer’ and makes it a point to attend these events in Ahmedabad and Vadodara.

Says Dishant, “I like talking to newer patients at these gatherings. Today, I am confident in facing the world and feel that I have this disease under control. I find it my responsibility to spread awareness about the importance of compliance and adhering to the doctor’s advice so that I can help other patients lead a normal and happy life.”

Despite his diagnosis with CML and all the challenges that he faced, Dishant went on to obtain a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering from Vadodara and a BTech from Indore.

Dishant credits his good health today to Friends of Max. “FOM has given me a brand-new life. I was able to complete my education, have a job and lead a normal life thanks to them. After my diagnosis, my parents were very concerned about my future. But to see me well-settled today is a huge blessing for my whole family”.  

When asked if he had any special memories with FOM, Dishant recalls the first time he met Viji as a teenager, “She told me that everything is good and you will soon be fit. I still think of these words whenever I am having a hard time”. He adds, “In my 10 years of association with this organization, everything has changed. FOM has seen my journey from an eighth-grade student diagnosed with CML to a patient advocate with a stable job and family of my own.”

Today, Dishant works with a reputed private bank and lives in Vadodara with his parents, wife and his 18-month-old baby boy. A man of few words, Dishant has a short and poignant message for everyone reading this article, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have. Never give up hope easily. Give yourself a chance and fight till the end.”