Posted by Viji Venkatesh on September 23, 2011
It seemed to be very apt and most logical that in order to celebrate the establishment of the first ever International CML Awareness Day we should engineer the coming together of those who mattered most in the management of this hitherto mistakenly regarded rarest of all Leukaemias - Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML).
While in Portugal at the International CML Foundation meeting amidst the likes of Dr. John Goldman and Dr. Jorge Cortes our Pat was to witness the launch of this day, half a world and most of a day away here in Mumbai at The Max Foundation India Office we planned a small event, too. This brought together a cross-section of CML patients in Bombay, three of our most senior onco-hematologists, and representative from Novartis India Limited. Amidst impassioned testimonials and expressions of gratitude towards Novartis, their physicians and The Max Foundation, the CML survivors celebrated living fully with Leukemia and their Life.
By noon most of the core group leaders from Friends of Max and other patients began walking in. By that time Dr Jude (our pathologist CMLer) was already holding sway over the gathered group, explaining the significance of the 9/22 date vis a vis the chromosome connection. Acting as an apt illustration was the posters Melissa, one of our team members, had created to collect signatures of everyone attending for the proclamation of International CML Awareness Day.
Everyone was exclaiming over the media coverage the FOM Mumbai team had worked on. The features is the first time Friends of Max was in the newspapers, creating awareness about 9/22 and showing their solidarity. In addition, one of the leading physicians in India spoke of how CML patients could now live a life as normal as the next person and how important compliance was to ensure the above status. All of the guest physicians shared the fact that the joy of treating CML was a gift to them too what with the magic of Glivec.
It was exhilarating to hear the physicians and the volunteers – patients who were leading full lives; one, a doctor himself, another a marathon runner and black belt in Karate, the mother of a budding Tennis champion, a media manager, a humble social worker who creates dozens of quilts a week for needy patients to homemakers and retired business men …. CML sure had made a special place in our lives and all of us at The Max Foundation were a million times blessed to be in their midst.