Our Patient Advocate of the Month is Mr. Kuldeep Goel.
Kuldeep hails from Ambala, which is a small town in Haryana located on the border with Punjab and in proximity to both states’ capital Chandigarh. After completing his graduation in Commerce from S.D. College (Ambala Cantt), he started his own General Goods store in Ambala itself.
Kuldeep was first diagnosed with CML in 2002 at PGI in Chandigarh. He then went to AIIMS, Delhi for a second opinion in January 2003 where they confirmed the news. At the time, there was no availability of Glivec and despite getting approval from his doctor he could not get his first dose for six months after that. This first dose was provided to him through GIPAP and The Max Foundation.
Following this, he attended a Support Group Meeting organized at AIIMS in 2004. Here he met Amma (Viji Venkatesh) and requested her to help him get the meds in Chandigarh because it was difficult for him to travel to Delhi every time. The Max Foundation team in India helped make that happen and since then he has never missed another dose. He made his first breakthrough in 2008 when he got a zero in his BCR report.
“People in Ambala look at me like a walking miracle. They cannot digest how a person who had been diagnosed with cancer 18 years ago is not just still alive but living his life to the fullest. Till date, more than half of the people who get diagnosed with cancer in Ambala pay me a visit for consultation, and I am more than happy to give them a few words of encouragement.” Kuldeep has had an important role in the growth of Friends of Max’s Chandigarh City Chapter—helping in the organization of Patient Support Group Meetings as well as personally calling hundreds of patients to make sure they attended these meetings. And of course, he is an inspiring role model to all CML patients in the region.
Even today he actively strives to help many CML patients in his own capacity. During the recent months of lockdown, he realised that a lot of patients were unable to procure medicines because of several reasons— travel restrictions, financial trouble, inability to obtain a prescription and other stumbling blocks. He helped such patients approach The Max Foundation who in turn made it a point that medicines were being delivered to all those in need of them.
But his social service does not end here. In his free time, he also helps distribute free Ayurvedic medicines to patients suffering from Piles.
Kuldeep has a family of five—a wife, a son and two daughters. He prides himself in the fact that all his kids are bank employees. “It is a huge joy for me to be able to see this day when all of my kids are standing on their own two feet. None of this would have been possible without the help of Friends of Max and my physician Dr. Pankaj Malhotra. A special mention to my close friends who were by my side 24×7 during my treatment phase, and still stand by me.”
When asked what kind of message he has for other patients suffering from such diseases, he says, “I have only one message for all patients—Whenever you face any health-related problems, make sure you see a doctor. There is absolutely no point in second-guessing or postponing your visit. Doctors are there to help you and it is your loss if you don’t take benefit of their services. Always eat homemade foods. There is nothing as clean or nourishing as a proper home-cooked meal. Half of our health issues are caused by food and this is the best strategy to avoid them.”