Our Friends of Max Patient Advocate for the month of July 2023 is George Colaco, (GIST) City Chapter Leader from Palghar.
“मै स्वस्थ हूँ, मस्त हूँ, तंदुरुस्त हूँ!”
George Colaco, is an actively involved member of the FOM family, and hails from Vasai, Palghar. He never hesitates to participate in the patient support group meetings. On the recently celebrated GIST Awareness Day 2023 (13 July 2023), he willingly represented FOM and joined the world to create awareness to bring attention to Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumour (GIST).
George comes from a middle-class family. Being the oldest among his siblings and, in his own words, not very bright in studies, he opted for doing a course in Fitters from the prestigious ITI. At the age of seventeen years, he got a visa to work in Bahrain.
In Bahrain he worked tirelessly to support his family and provide for their needs. He worked long hours as an assistant mechanic learning the skills of the trade and gaining valuable experience along the way. Despite facing numerous challenges, he remained determined and focused on his goal of improving his family’s financial situation.
In 1991 he met the love of his life, Elbira, and they decided to get married. Together they lead a happy life and live with their son Elvis, who continues to bring immense joy and happiness to them.
It was in 2009 when his health started deteriorating gradually. He was experiencing symptoms that were concerning and so decided to seek medical help. After undergoing various tests and scans he was diagnosed with GIST.
Dr Nelesh from Jaslok Hospital prescribed Glivec to manage his condition after surgery. Unfortunately, the cost of the medication was very high, and it posed a financial burden on the family.
In his own words, “I thank my doctor and Melissa Dmello, through whom I got in touch with The Max Foundation office, filled out all the paper work and received the support and the medicine at a discounted rate. This allowed me to continue with my treatment.”
Today he enjoys being an active FOM Patient Advocate, and never misses any opportunity to attend Patient Support Group meetings organised by The Max Foundation and Friends of Max. In these meetings, he likes to participate in the medical panel discussions to share his personal experiences and provide clarity to any patient queries with regard to GIST. He is always willing to guide and assist other patients who are due for their surgery, chemo or radiation. This brings him joy and satisfaction.
In his spare time George spends time with cancer patients, inspiring and motivating them to lead their lives adopting a positive attitude.
His advice to CML patients is:
“With the help of the omnipotent God, and being regular with our medicines and doctor follow up visits, let us all remain healthy, powerful, and strong. We are all blessed by God, so stop worrying. Continue living your life and keep saying, मै स्वस्थ हूँ, मस्त हूँ, तंदुरुस्त हूँ!”