Posted by Erin Schwartz on February 09, 2012
On World Cancer Day, many of our affiliated patient groups around the world participated by hosting awareness events. This blog highlights several of the events. The re-caps are told by our MaxStations who attended each of the gatherings.
Patna event as told by Viji, Lead MaxStation based in Mumbai, India: They came from everywhere, all corners of the state of Bihar and from cities in the neighbouring states like Calcutta, Allahabad and Delhi!!! Oh the joy of welcoming familiar, beloved friends from all over. The joy of meeting, in their home town, with their families the dear patients we meet in our office and being able to give them a day they would cherish. Each patient, every caregiver, wore their badge of cancer with pride and courage and was happy to share and learn from each other. In the process, teaching all of us how to embrace life with all positive energies in the midst of so many adversities.
One of the most gratifying outcomes is always to see how Friends of Max (FOM) core members as mentors are teaching the others to take on the responsibilities they shoulder and lead new and younger friends to lead their own units. And how can any meeting not provide the most eagerly awaited component of all – the interaction with the physicians? Adding to the already superb presence of Dr Rajeev Ranjan and four of the oncologists from the host hospital we also had Dr Kumar Prabash of Tata Memorial Hospital, Bombay who joined us for the whole day. Not only is he the most knowledgeable and articulate of physicians but having him in Patna was special. Patna being his home town the audience welcomed him as their own and enjoyed having him in their midst to the hilt.
Kochi event as told by Beena, MaxStation for Southern India: We at Kochi observed World Cancer Day with a group of around 200 participants. The poster of the event carried two slogans. One said, “A drop of water forms the ocean“, and the other declared, “We unite and we fight together“.
The event was inaugurated by the esteemed Dr. V P Gangadharan, who said this is the occasion to unite and fight against the disease. His inspiring speech on the occasion touched upon the following.
- Each one of us has the responsibility to do his/her part in the awareness campaign
- It is important not only to provide treatment, but also to provide care
- Fight bravely
- Cancer is curable and there are many advanced technologies and medicines available now
- It is important to create awareness of the disease
- And so it is important for survivors to speak out
As pointed out by the banner, people came to be united and decided they would fight together. Each one of us can only provide a drop of service to the afflicted, but our community can turn the drops in to an ocean of care.
Johannesburg event as told by Cathy, our MaxStation based in South Africa: Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital is one of the largest hospitals in the world. The hospital, situated South of Johannesburg, has over 3000 beds and 6700 staff members. Amidst the chaos we locals call "Barra" you find a beautiful red brick building surrounded with flowers and a well kept lawn. From the minute you enter the doors you can feel the positive energy bouncing of the walls. Physicians and nurses are tending to the young patients with warmth and love and between the colorful painted walls.
Welcome to Ward 44, pediatric oncology. Experiencing this efficient environment gave me hope and a reason to celebrate on World Cancer Day. "Max-Packs" full of presents were handed out around the ward and smiles and hugs were shared freely so grateful for the attention and a "present".
This World Cancer Day I learned two important lessons from Ward 44;
1. Do not get caught up in the ugliness that may be around you, create your own beauty. Ward 44 is an example of how to stand out from circumstance.
2. Do not let others dictate your dreams, rise above your expectations and take the lead.
One important aim of World Cancer Day is to create awareness. This year I became aware that despite the challenges there is hope and despite negative situations there is a will to rise above it
I salute Ward 44 and its occupants for their positive attitudes and for being so incredibly courageous in the fights against cancer.