The FOM Volunteers of the Month (June 2019) are Geeta and Jayant Duvedi.
They have been integral to the Pune Chapter of Friends of Max for well over a decade.
A father-figure for the FOM Pune team, caregiver Jayant is equally at home playing guardian of the FOM Pune group as with paying studious attention to detail while translating the Maximo books to reach a wider audience. Indeed they have organised Maximo book-reading sessions for children notably at Mangeshkar Hospital, Pune. Getting key messages across early to children, and indeed older patients, is fundamental to the efforts of The Max Foundation and Friends of Max.
The Pune-based husband-wife duo have played key roles at each and every Pune-based Patient Support Group Meeting as well as at the two important Friends of Max Leadership Summits that have been held in that city. Counselling others and exhorting them to shed inhibitions and false fears and openly share their experiences with others are key roles played by the couple.
In the beginning, they weren’t so comfortable in the presence of others at FOM Meetings. Like many others beset with a seemingly insurmountable condition they learned first to shed their own fears and inhibitions and then with, calm acceptance, relate to others’ insecurities and help them manage their fears.
Apart from Friends of Max activities which they are devoted to, both Jayant and Geeta are deeply involved with their own schools located on the large plot of land that they own. The schools which they founded in 1987, cater to nearly 200 children- ‘Samartha Balwadi Montessori School” and the Marathi-medium / semi-English medium ‘Samartha Vidyalaya” (both in Dhankawadi, Pune). The energetic Geeta manages both. In addition they also work for the Rotary Club and Lions Club in Pune.
They proudly hosted a cancer- awareness program at their home five years ago.
Reading, meeting others, travelling and spending time with their family members takes up their free time. For them, Friends of Max has been an extended family since 2004 when Geeta joined FOM soon after her being diagnosed with CML