Rahul and Supriya Shinde

Friends of Max’s Patient Advocates of the Month are Rahul and Supriya Shinde, our City Chapter Leaders from Pune.

Rahul and Supriya are both from typical urban families. While Rahul was raised by his parents and an older sibling, Supriya grew up with three siblings. “We had a happy and secure childhood”, says Rahul.

Rahul went on to obtain his Bachelor’s in Commerce followed by a diploma in Finance. On the other hand, Supriya, after completing her graduation in Home Science with a Major in Human Development, decided to obtain a diploma in Psychotherapy and Counselling.

In the year 2007, Rahul was diagnosed with CML and during the initial phase of discovering this disease, the couple was introduced to Friends of Max by his treating physician Dr Shashikant Apte. Soon after, Rahul and Supriya became active members of the patient support group meetings organized by The Max Foundation and Friends of Max.

Rahul recalls his first interaction with FOM – “It was in the month of October 2007.  We were given colored tags at the registration desk and in my mind, I was thinking maybe this was to group us according to the severity of the disease. But as it turned out, I was completely wrong. The tags were for a group activity organized for us later”.

More recently, Rahul and Supriya have started Atman Matrimonial to help cancer survivors seeking to get married find suitable partners. They say, “We are seeking registrations from survivors who have fought their toughest battle yet and emerged successfully. We wish to associate with their personal journey of meeting and settling with a partner of their choice. This is the first support group of its kind where new members have to be someone who have overcome a medical complication.”

Speaking of their current place in life, Rahul and Supriya say, “Our families have accepted this new normal of CML very well although the beginning was full of uncertainties. In a strange and happy way, all of them have shown maturity in accepting the reality and it has brought us closer together.”

When asked if he has a message for our readers, Rahul humbly says, “I am not all that wiser than them, but I will suggest a few things – some easy and some hard. Do not miss taking your medicine even for a single day. That is the most important and easiest thing to do. The hard bit is to not think too much about CML – it is something that has happened and with medicine you will be fine. Try to live a balanced life as far as possible. As the saying goes, ‘Work hard, play harder.’ FOM is there for everything else. I cannot thank Viji Amma (Viji Venkatesh) and FOM enough for the love and support they have given us. I will not hesitate to say that I saw an Angel…”