World CML Day 2020 – Today Together, More Than Ever

Every 22nd September, the CML Advocates Network leads the World CML Day global awareness campaign. On this day, chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) patients across the globe come together to raise awareness about our needs to the general public, policy makers, and medical professionals across the world. Today, together, more than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CML patient advocates need to connect as a worldwide community through digital tools by developing online activities.

The Max Foundation and Friends of Max are committed to observing World CML Day and are proud to be the voice of thousands of CML patients from the Indian Subcontinent. We stand united with CML Advocates and all the other patient organizations, healthcare providers and our CML friends across the world as we join the global movement under a powerful motto, “Today together more than ever. For a life without CML.”

This year, we conducted a simple activity asking our patients to send us their message on World CML Day along with an image or video, which we framed and shared on our social media platforms.

When there is a affair between your 9th and 22nd Chromosomes, the date 22/9 becomes a day to remember. It’s today christened as World CML Day
It’s like a anniversary to commemorate our existence with our Philadelphia siblings across the globe. Lot of awareness activities are conducted across the world.

With the new normal of us being in lockdown due to the pandemic, activities in India were restricted to only online activities. Survivors across the nation shared their testimonials either through their videos or supporting it with their pictures. Many of our FOM friends joined in the International webinar moderated by Dr Hemant Malhotra at 6:15
pm. Ms. Pat Garcia Gonzalez our mentor shared her views on Challenges in providing equitable CML care globally through a recording. Though it was 5:30 am in USA, Pat joined the webinar later for the Q & A Session. Pat’s talk was followed by other experts from our CML world. And of course our dear
Amma was an integral part of this International Speakers program.
7:30pm was the time for our virtual FOM get together … wow… Looked like people were just waiting for the clock to reach 7:30… 158 people were logged inform the length n breath of the country … the happiness to see our fellow CML friends was reflecting in all their faces.. The numbers swelled as the clock ticked forward. It was also live on Facebook for those who could not login on Zoom. Not only people from India but our friends from other neighbouring countries joined us… Nepal, Bangladesh & Sri Lanka.

We had the privilege of having Dr Hemanth Malhotra , Dr. Jayant Indurkar, Dr. Jina Bhattacharya, Dr. Pankaj Malhotra, Dr Guru Sah, Dr Arun Shahi, Dr Yunus from Bangladesh, Dr Mipsang Lama & Dr Gyan from Nepal alongwith our ever smiling beautiful Max Foundation team members.
Without much delay the question answer session rolled out. The session was once again moderated by Dr Hemant Malhotra. Amma read out the questions compiled by the Max Team from the patients. The session was conducted with a mix of English n Hindi for the benefit of our multilingual audience.

The usual doubts on CML were asked and as usual answered beautifully by our panel of doctors and the most important Dr Pankaj Malhotra helped with sharing his experiences of things to do & not do during the Covid pandemic. A big thanks to all doctors for spending their valuable time with us, especially Dr Hemant Malhotra for moderating the entire Q & A session.

Later on few patients shared their CML journey experiences over Zoom. Rashmie Fernando from Sri Lanka, Rajiv Kumar from Guwahati, Krishna Prasad Upadhyaya from Nepal, J P Tiwari from Bhopal, Shofiur Rahaman Sohag from Bangladesh, Krishan Modani from Jaipur & Prashant Kumar from Patna. Chaiathon was flagged off again this year by Amma saying let’s make 22nd September…a day to remember, reassuring all CML patients that someone somewhere while sipping Tea with family or in social circle is assuring the commitment to support with their donations. This activity will go from 22/9 to 30/9. It’s a assurance that we are not alone in this journey of life with Cancer.

Missing all the physical Chai for Cancer Adda’s this year; don’t worry God willing we will be back next year in a safer environment. Around 250 people joined on Zoom and lot more on Facebook. The meeting ended at 10:10 with a assurance that we will meet soon as we care for each other and look forward today tomorrow together more than ever.

– Pramod George, Friends of Max Trustee