We had our FoM meet in Mumbai on the 7th of May (Saturday). Since this was my first non-Chennai regional meet (apart from the All India Meets), I was all excited to see a new set of FoM family and also to meet some of my dear core team members and the Max India team in Mumbai.
So there I was on the morning of the 7th at the Bombay Hospital. I should mention something about the venue here . The entire auditorium , capable of seating almost 300 was air conditioned (including the dining hall) else it would have been really difficult to escape from the scorching sun. As soon as I entered, a delicious breakfast J , FoM core team and Max India team who were already there awaited me . It was so good to see Jaya (whom I met almost six years back in the Mumbai All India Meet), Nirmesh, Pramod G, Pramod A, Mrs.Bakul P, Prof. Koner, Pinakin and his wife Neeraj, Nikhil and Sashikant (from Pune) and Sukanya Lal. Appa was handling the signature campaign table which all of us religiously signed. The Max India team (Vidya-ji, Melissa, Sudha and others) were handling the registration. Of couse not to miss Viji, Ayeshah and Sharon. Beena was the only MI member missing from the team. Pinakin M was the Director of Photography and I’m sure he would share the pictures soon.
The meeting commenced with Viji addressing the Mumbai regional audience. She spoke about how we were organized (Novartis and Max Foundation vis a vis the programme and Max India and FoM) and made all of us cherish the journey that we all have had so far as a team. Here I need to mention that Mumbai FoM, showed its real spirit by filling the auditorium to full capacity.
Once that was done, it was time for Osama to be resurrected from the sea where he is told to have been buried. Yes, our very own Pramod (as Osama) and Nirmesh (as Obama) played a fantastic pair in communicating the need for Glivec compliance through a short play. The way it was enacted was so good that I was sure the following message would have got instilled /reiterated in the minds of people:
(1) Have your medicines regularly
(2) Meet your Doctor periodically
(3) Have the tests prescribed by your Doctor done on time
Viji then made a very impactful presentation on Compliance sharing some statistics and most common reasons for both good and bad adherence.
After that there was a survey conducted to check the compliance and good adherence measures practised by the participants which brought with it some of the key reasons why people miss taking their medicines. The solution to the same was given so nicely by the volunteer leaders called upon by Viji to come to the dais and speak on the stumbling blocks faced by all that everyone in the meeting understood the importance of having the medicines regularly. Dr. M.B. Agarwal and Dr. Hari Menon were also there to clarify many questions. Dr.M.B.Agarwal also made a fantastic presentation on Tasigna (the next generation medicine to Glivec) . This was again followed by a session of Q & A and Dr. Agarwal was so “to the point” in answering all of them patiently. This was followed by a song rendition by one of our little friends in the group Ankita
We all then took a break for lunch. The lunch was really lip smacking.
Post lunch, it was Sharon’s turn to introduce the session on sharing testimonials through the Book of Stories. Viji had a presentation based on the power of stories from throughout the ages and she introduced to the audience the Pulitzer Prize winning story of yes , Cancer – the “Emperor of all Maladies” which had extensive references to CML , Glivec and the team at Novartis and the doctors who worked hard to bring it to the patients. After that we had Manoj read his own story from the latest Book of Stories and this inspired many other people to share their experiences with Cancer and Glivec. Some testimonials like the one from Mr.Anil was truly moving.
This was followed by a session by Naini Setalvad a well know nutrionist , who spoke of diet and cancer ; more specifically on food items that helped fight cancedr. She explained the benefits of each and every vegetarian food (fruits, pulses, vegetables). It was followed by a Q&A session where we were all able to clear many of our doubts and learn important tips .
Finally the event came to an end for the day…what an eventful day it was…..
Sriram – FOM Chennai