Patna Meeting-Report by Prashant Kumar

At the Support Group Meeting held on 4 March 2023, for the CML & GIST patients at AIIMS, Patna, organized by The Max Foundation for Friends of Max, Prashant Kumar, FOM City Chapter Leader from Patna, was interviewed and asked to share his views:

1. Importance of Support Group Meetings for patients?

Support group meetings provide cancer-related information and education to the patients and their caregivers. Here participants can openly and honestly talk about their feelings, and the ups and downs of their treatment journey which in turn helps to reduce their stress, depression, anxiety or fatigue. They also find encouragement and empathy from the others present at the meeting. In these meetings, patients come to know about the new facilities/services being provided to them and their families by Friends of Max.

At the end of the meeting, there was a group advocacy workshop which was conducted. It was helpful not only for the patients but also for their caregivers in improving psychological well-being, reducing anxiety and depression and improving quality of life.

2. What are your feelings when you meet the FOM community?

It’s a wonderful feeling one can cherish for the whole life. For me, the FOM community is like a wonderful family of like-minded people, who are always ready to help others at anytime, anywhere.

3. What are your thoughts on the interactive sessions organized at these Support Group Meetings?

In interactive sessions, all the patients’ queries get answered as well as expert advice is also provided by eminent doctors. Here patients get practical advice or information about treatment options. This is particularly helpful for patient participants who come from remote/distant areas to attend these sessions.

4. Do you have any expectations from the future FOM Meeting?

I wish this FOM family will keep on growing. Its fund-raising activities should be spread in all the cities so that more needy patients could be supported.

In this meeting, for the first time, BCR-ABL Test was done for all attending CML patients at no cost. This blood test facility we hope shall continue in the future as well.

Further, it was announced that work is being done to take care of the education fees for the children of needy patients. I look forward to that as well.