Perfect recap of an amazing day- 14th December, 2014

Friends of Max and Adyar Cancer Institute have always shared a great bond.

Infact it was in Chennai in 2002 that the first Friends of Max meeting was organized. Since then the Drs at the Institute and FoM have been actively engaged in many activities. We have conducted multiple FoM meetings at Adyar CI and the Drs have been gracious enough to give us the auditorium and be present as part of the Q&A sessions.  As a hallmark of this bond, Adyar CI, invited Viji Venkatesh, the Country Head of Max Foundation and Friends of Max to be a part of the launch of their communication video and CML helpline. The meeting was held on the 14-December and was attended by Viji V and Sudha from Max foundation.

The core team had assembled that bright Sunday morning putting up our FoM banners, arranging the registration tables and audio visuals. We had our friends from Bangalore – Sangeetha (daughter of Param) and Vikram and Coimbatore – Karthikeyan, Ganesh attend the meeting. Thanks a lot guys. You added that A-factor (awesomeness) to the meeting. Sangeetha, Supraja Sriram, Sasi and Sudha were at the registration counter. The abridged version of the Book of Stories along with the CML FAQ, PCR FAQ and the badges were given as part of the welcome kit. Vedamuthu, Saravanan, Kannan, Ashwathaman, Maran and other core FoM members engaged the new attendees in ice breaker sessions over tea.

We commenced our meeting with Dr.Shantha’s arrival who is Chairperson of Adyar CI. Despite the global recognition that she has received for her Cancer Care (Ramon Magsasay award), she is an epitome of humbleness and compassion.  Dr.Prasanth Ganesan and Nags were the MC for the session. Dr. T G Sagar, Deputy Director, Department of Medical Oncology, Dr. Rejiv Rajendranath, Additional Professor, Department of Medical Oncology, were also present to grace the event. The meeting started with the  launch of the informational video on CML. The first copy of the same was presented to Viji V.  Dr.Shantha spoke about how well the patient support activities of FoM were integrated with Adyar CI and also expressed gratitude towards the work done by Novartis through the NOA program and Max foundation for administering the same very efficiently.  There was also a CML helpline which was launched and I had the privilege to receive the same from Dr. Shantha on behalf of Friends of Max.

The Q&A session with the Doctors started. A very eminent panel comprising Dr.Sagar, Dr.Rejiv, Dr. Snitha Kayal (Paediatric Oncologist) and Dr.Ganesan answered all the questions raised by the attendees. The questions ranged from Symptoms to compliance to long term care to Insurance. Special thanks to Dr.Prasanth for anchoring the session.

After a near 2 Hrs Q&A session, it was time for lunch. We had some lip smacking veg kurma to sambar rice and sweets.  Special thanks to Veda for organizing the same.

Post lunch was the Drama Therapy workshop. Drama Therapy provided the most fun-filled way to share feelings and experiences, to get rid of repressed fear, and to find solutions to the problems that trouble our minds. Viji explained the four scenarios covering –Pre-diagnosis process by the family members, Meeting the Doctor and knowing the treatment options, workplace empathy and organizing the FoM meeting. Since people were sharing their own stories through this workshop, there was a very  active participation and there was also an emotional connect among the people. The outcome of the workshop was that all the key messages that we as Core FoM team members and MAX Foundation wanted to pass on was infused into everyone’s mind.  The key messages were

·         Empathizing with people

·         Following the Doctors advise (Compliance)

·         Sharing knowledge

Towards the end of the day, the whole auditorium was emanating hope and positivity and we wrapped up the daylong event with tea and a set of selfies.



Sriram Ranganthan, FOM Chennai