Patient Support Groups: Helping Patients and their caregivers cope with the diagnosis of Cancer
A diagnosis of cancer can bring out strong fears and anxieties in the affected family or social unit. While timely access to treatment and family support can go a long way in erasing these fears, there is a growing sense of isolation that sets in which can have a big impact on patients’ emotional well being. No one knows what someone is going through unless they are going through it themselves. Patient support groups address this need of sharing and learning from each others’ experiences.
Although in western countries patient support groups are an established section of the health care community, in many other countries this is still a novel approach to self help. That is, until now. In the past few years The Max Foundation has fostered the formation of patient groups in the communities where we operate as a means to build community resources and provide patients with emotional support.
Patient support groups typically have one or more of the following goals:
1. Provide emotional support
2. Support each other with education and information
3. Advocate for patients as a group
Further, there is a fourth layer of goals for patient support groups which originate from a donation program: to give back to the community.
Generosity is a contagious emotion. An act of kindness can create a ripple effect well beyond its original scope. The combined efforts of a drug manufacturer who provides free treatment for those most underserved; a physician who dedicates him or herself to their patients, and an organization that holds the patient’s hand, have a tremendous impact on those individuals who are affected by it.
The Max Foundation has been for the last five years the conduit of Novartis’ generosity towards the most underserved population of CML and GIST patients in partnership with very dedicated hematologists and oncologists. The overwhelming response to this great act of generosity has been a strong need of the patients to give back to their communities and give new meaning to their lives.
The Friends of Max grew out of just such a need –welcome to the website of “Friends of Max” .