Our Patient Advocate for the month of October 2023 is the John family ; Pramod who is Trustee and Jt Secretary Friends of Max, wife Mini John and children Riya and David John .
The Patient Advocate Extraordinaire
We feature as Patient Advocate of the Month Pramod and his family and showcase here their dedication, unwavering commitment and the exceptional passion they bring to their work with FOM. As patient advocates, they have been a constant source of support to various FOM projects working towards the well being of countless CML and GIST patients who form the FOM family. Whether it is to create awareness or raise funds the Johns are never to be left behind. With immense empathy and deep understanding, the Johns have consistently stood by the side of the patients, ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are met. Pramod actively represents CML patients from this part of the world in International Patient Advocate groups and conferences.
At the recently concluded Colors of Hope, FOM’s fundraiser art exhibition in Mumbai, artwork created by Riya John when she was just five years old, was one of the first to be picked up. David John besides being his parents’ right hand at their Addas, has interned with FOM more than once and actively organises awareness talks in his college. Mini John remains always the exemplary host and caregiver!
Born as the youngest in a middle-class Government employee’s family, Pramod didn’t have the privilege of being pampered with all his demands being met. What life as he grew up did teach him was to be ready for any situation that may be thrown at him. Not being very interested in academics, he spent most of his time outdoors engaged in some form of sport or other.
He always enjoyed meeting people and he believes being an active member of his Church Youth Group had helped him to hone his skills in public speaking. Reading, which he enjoys and is also a habit picked up by his children, further helped him to connect with people with diverse interests. It did not come as a surprise to anyone when he chose Sales and Marketing as his career path.
Pramod and Mini, who were childhood friends, got married in 1997. They are blessed with two children, a daughter, Riya born in 1999 and their son, David in 2003.
It was in 2003 that Pramod got connected with The Max Foundation and Friends of Max. “I think God blessed me with more opportunities for my social outreach. A blessing in disguise to meet and connect with people across India and across the globe, building friendships and lifetime relationships, all thanks to CML, The Max Foundation, Novartis and later our own baby, Friends of Max”, says Pramod.
“The 20 years connection with The Max Foundation and later Friends of Max has moulded me the way I am today. I have seen FOM grow from a textual yahoo group to a physical group to the Biggest CML patient support group in the world”, he adds.
He remains grateful to his parents who encouraged him to participate in Church-led activities which he feels helped to inculcate a deep sense of social responsibility in him. This in turn has helped him to actively engage in FOM outreach programs as and when needed. When he looks back, he is happy that he could be of help to people in their hour of need.
Pramod feels very passionate about Chai for Cancer (CFC), which holds a prominent place in his mind, body and spirit. He feels privileged to have been part of this campaign right from the moment Amma came up with this unique concept of fundraising. Which started as a concept in mind, got rolled out early May 10 years back from Amma’s house in Thane and till date continues as a religious ritual. He feels grateful that except for the 2 years of lockdown, the Johns have had the privilege of hosting CFC Addas at their home. Like the CFC movement , the Addas at their home has also grown in terms of footfall and contributions. It’s now like an annual ritual with friends from their school, college, colleagues at work, parish members, neighbours and family members joining in to make the Adda a super success. “It’s such a blessed feeling doing it every year,” says Pramod.
Their advice to CML patients is:
As a person reading this note I would recommend that you also join this movement. It’s not the amount that you collect in these Addas, it’s the joy that you get in hosting it; giving back to the world who has given you so much till now. Start by recommending it in your place of work, society or community. I am sure it will help bring smiles on many more faces and Amma’s vision will reach new beneficiaries.