The Max Foundation and Friends of Max organized a Virtual Support Group Meeting for CML and GIST patients in Gujarat on 27th March 2022. This meeting was attended by almost 150 patients, caregivers, physicians and saw the complete support of the Max South Asia team.
Max’s Programme Officer Anshika Tandon started off the meeting with an impactful presentation on The Max Foundation’s vision, work and impact over the last 25 years. The spotlight then shone on FOM Trustee Ushakant Shah. “I am fortunate to be diagnosed with a disease like CML”, he said as he shared his inspiring talk on the role of patient leaders, the work of Friends of Max, the FOM Membership Programme among other topics of utmost importance to the patients and caregivers present at the meeting.
Max’s Programme Officer Priyanka Kandalgaokar then introduced the expert panel of physicians at the meeting which included Dr Asif Shaikh, Dr Babita Hapani, Dr. Bharat Parikh, Dr Chirag Desai, Dr Deepa Trivedi and Dr Sandeep Shah. The meeting also saw a welcome appearance by Padma Shri Awardee Dr Pankaj Shah. Each of the physicians shared their knowledge and insights into various aspects of CML and GIST.
The most awaited segment – “Ask the Experts” was moderated by Dr Asif Shaikh. The physicians not only elaborated and answered every question submitted by the patients before the meeting, they also replied and commented on the questions received live.
Max’s Programme Officer Sudha Samineni generously thanked the physicians for their time and the volunteers, City Chapter Leaders and the Max team, for their efforts in helping organize the meeting. She was followed by Max Programme Coordinator Urvashi Negi’s presentation on the MAS Guidelines.
FOM City Chapter Leaders shone bright as they shared their incredible journeys from being patients to patient leaders in an awe-inspiring segment called “CML Does Not Define Us”, moderated by Max’s Region Head, South Asia, Viji Venkatesh. What was common in each of their stories was an undying spirit of living life to the fullest, the emphasis on compliance and a feeling of gratitude towards The Max Foundation and Friends of Max.
Karan Vyas, diagnosed at the age of 9, shared how his passion for sports and rifle shooting helped him remain focused on what was important. Ajay Gandhi spoke about how he feels that Glivec has reduced CML from being a life-threatening disease to a “Samanya Rog” (Ordinary disease).
Shital Kiran then spoke about the strides in medical advancement in terms of TKI therapy. “The real disease is in our minds, not our bodies”, he said. Ghanshyam Vyas spoke about how taking the medicine regularly has helped him work long hours and support his family despite the disease.
Vikramaditya shared how being diagnosed with CML gave him the courage to change his career path and pick up something he was passionate about. Rashmi Sachade’s spirit was unmatched as she shared her journey as a GIST patient and how she recently fulfilled her dream of dancing at her daughter’s wedding.
This segment was followed by a presentation by FOM Communications Manager Aashray Paul, who spoke about the various initiatives and the social media outreach of the organization as well as the importance of fundraising for NGOs
With that, the Virtual Meet was finally brought to a close by Anshika Tandon. It was truly an evening of “Sharing and Learning Together”, in line with the motto of Friends of Max. At the time of conclusion, the meeting still had a presence of over 50 attendees
You can watch the live replay of the meeting by clicking on the link below-