Blogs posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez
Dear friends and supporters,
As many of you know, October 19th is the anniversary of Max’s birthday. It is hard to believe that he would have turned 40 years old! The day is always surrounded by many emotions, flashbacks to another time, moments spent together, forever present his last birthday in our house in Houston. He had just been discharged one more time from the hospital, and dozens of friends and family members had called him throughout the day to wish him a happy birthday. Exhausted but full of love, Max emphatically announced that it was the happiest day of his life.
Fast forward to today and I cannot but marvel of the immensity of the reach, his spirit soaring around the world, and children and adults of all cultures, keeping Max in their hearts. I cannot thank you enough for making every day Max’s birthday; for carrying his name with such dignity and respect, and for allowing him to be present in everything we do.
Click 'Read More' for Pat's appeal in its entirety.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on October 17, 2013 | Comments: 1
Pat Garcia-Gonzalez shares her statement, on behalf of The MAX Foundation, in reply to article published in the Blood Journal, April 25th entitled, “The Price of Drugs for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML); A Reflection of the Unsustainable Prices of Cancer Drugs: From the Perspective of a Large Group of CML Experts”.
I would like to thank the authors of the article published in the Blood Journal, April 25th entitled, “The Price of Drugs for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML); A Reflection of the Unsustainable Prices of Cancer Drugs: From the Perspective of a Large Group of CML Experts”, for their commitment to the well-being of their patients; a commitment we have seen first-hand.
In the article, the authors call attention to how drug prices are quite daunting with most targeted therapies at an annual cost of more than 100,000 US dollars per year. With that in mind, I support their call for a dialogue; we need to work together and certainly industry must be part of the discussion. However, it is my belief that unless we are able to look more broadly at the larger issue of access to treatment, we might not reach a result that will help patients today. I propose that we elevate the conversation to considering access to treatment in its full complexity and the role of pricing within this larger context...
Click Read More to read Pat's complete message.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on April 26, 2013 | Comments: 1
In the last 24 hours, The MAX Foundation has received numerous calls and emails from concerned patients regarding the implications of the recent ruling by the Supreme Court of India. We continue to advise those inquiring that we have no indication of any changes in Novartis’ Glivec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP) or the Novartis Oncology Access (NOA) program related to the India Supreme Court decision.
Novartis has been a sincere partner of people living with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) for the past 10 years. We have seen first-hand the benefits of programs such as Novartis’ Glivec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP) and other Novartis access programs. The MAX Foundation is committed to supporting, facilitating and creating sustainable channels of access to treatment. We welcome any access solutions for good quality drugs from any company with the goal of sustainable and quality treatment for patients everywhere.
We applaud the global dialogue regarding this complex issue which sheds light on the heavy burden of cancer in emerging countries.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on April 02, 2013 | Comments: 7
March 9th marks the day Max laid down his battle with cancer. It was 22 year ago, yet the wounds are still fresh and the pain quite real. This day is a reminder that cancer is a ruthless enemy willing to attack the youngest, the purest and just about anyone, anywhere and at any time.
United with survivors and those left behind, we defeat cancer by not allowing it to crush our heart or kill our spirits. Cancer thought it was taking Max away, yet, quite the contrary, today he lives in the hearts of thousands of people around the world. Cancer thought it was preventing Max from growing up and becoming a positive influence in his community. Yet today Max is a worldwide agent of hope.
To make a donation in honor of Max or your loved one, click here.
We would love to hear from you, our brothers and sisters; our partners in life. Click here to Sign the Guestbook.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on March 07, 2013 | Comments: 23
Every given week at The Max Foundation, we deal with an entire range of situations and emotions. Our advocates do their work meticulously, professionally, with compassion and dedication, offering love and support, and linking families from all corners of the world with whatever resources are available for help. Two events recently, however, stopped us in our tracks: we received a package, and a very special video.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on September 01, 2010 | Comments: 3
This October, you will have a unique opportunity to unite with thousands of cancer survivor, caregivers, advocates and concerned citizens, and increase public awareness of the urgent need to put cancer on the global health agenda. The Maximize Life Global Cancer Awareness Campaign will be officially launched simultaneously in Seattle and Washington D.C. on September 25th. These events will be followed by awareness events in numerous locations in over 30 countries around the world. All events will feature the opportunity for survivors, caregivers, and the general public alike to add their name in support of the World Cancer Declaration.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on September 15, 2010 | Comments: 12
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer; if you have experienced the uncertainty of not knowing if treatment was available; if you ever wondered if there is anything you could do to help yourself, your loved one and others, THIS IS THE TIME; THIS IS YOUR CHANCE!
Watch our Call to Action video.
In September 2011, for the first time in history, the United Nations will convene a high level Summit to discuss the burden of cancer and other non-communicable diseases on the world’s needy populations. This is the first time that Heads of State will address the burden of cancer around the world.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on September 22, 2010 | Comments: 9
This past weekend, scientists and physicians from around the world met at the iCMLf ESH International CML Conference in Washington DC to discuss advances in the treatment of this disease. The conference provided three intense days of meetings. Nevertheless, many took time out of their busy schedule to write messages of support to their patients.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on September 28, 2010 | Comments: 2
For those of us who have lost loved ones to cancer, birthday anniversaries are always a difficult time. Having lost Max at the sweet age of 17, one feels such sadness for what could have been. What would he have become? What difference would he have made in the world? Yet, for Max, what could have been is not, but instead, something beautiful has evolved from the darkness: a worldwide movement of hope and courage. Max has become a symbol of hope for many, and today he lives in the hearts of people all around the world.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on October 19, 2010 | Comments: 27
Today we see the culmination of a very special week, Max’s week. A very big thank you to everyone who sent messages of hope and love.
All around the world the Maximize Life Movement seems to be in full activity. Read this blog for a recap of the week and some awesome photos.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on October 22, 2010 | Comments: 3
This week we were blessed with the opportunity to bring cheer and joy to children undergoing cancer treatment in Seattle. The evening was planned thoroughly: we would bring a craft activity to keep kids entertained, we would bring donated gifts for everyone (not really knowing how many kids would come, we prepared for 50 kids) and, we would bring a magician to put on a show.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on October 29, 2010 | Comments: 3
In partnership with 31 patient organizations and hundreds of volunteers, and with great determination, today we reached our goal of collecting more than 10,000 tributes and signatures to the World Cancer Declaration.
It was only a few weeks ago, at the World Cancer Congress in Shenzhen, China, that we dared to pledge the highest level of signatures in support of the Declaration. As scary as this was, we knew we could do it. Our secret: we work with the most dedicated partners, the greatest patient leaders, the most courageous survivors and the most committed supporters, one could possibly work with.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on November 22, 2010 | Comments: 8
Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that go beyond a day off work and a lot of food. Thanksgiving in the United States brings with it a chance to stop the mad rush of our daily routine and tell our family and friends how much we appreciate having them in our lives.
As I look back at this year, I realize how incredibly lucky we are to be surrounded by a global community of the most amazing people one could have ever wished to meet. The work we do daily gives us the chance to meet many courageous families; the partnerships we form help us make a difference; and the awareness campaign wrapped it all up with a glorious month of advocacy and hope.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on November 24, 2010 | Comments: 7
As the year comes to an end, we are reminded of our blessings; the collective opportunity to make a difference; the wonderful people we met, once new faces who are now friends and part of our big family, as well as old friends with whom we shared our journey for another year.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on December 27, 2010 | Comments: 4
Standing on stage at the UICC gathering in Geneva, the Maximize Life delegation delivered their key message that cancer control is needed everywhere in the world. Today, we bring you a home video of the Maximize Life moment when the delegates proudly handed over the 13,000 signatures to UICC.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on February 09, 2011 | Comments: 3
This March 9th will mark the day Max Rivarola lost his battle with CML 20 years ago. For those of us who were there, each minute of that day is forever stamped in our minds and hearts, and yet, 20 years seems like an eternity; a life cut short and the regret of what could have been. We find solace in the memories of his smile, the fun and happy times we shared, and his loving heart. We live in gratitude to each person who continues to carry on his name in all corners of the world as a symbol of hope, and we are humbled by your love.
May his soul rest in peace, may the memories never fade, and may we continue to find the strength to rise above cancer.
In remembrance of Max and all those who lost their battle with cancer, today we ask that you light a candle in their memory and renew your commitment to making cancer a global health priority.
Click READ MORE below to leave a comment with your thoughts on this day of remembrance.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on March 09, 2011 | Comments: 21
After many events, local campaigns, signature sheets, and with the individual efforts of so many, we have finally come to the dawn of the day we have been waiting for, the UN High Level Summit on non communicable diseases (NCDs). My colleague Erin and I will be on site in New York, excited to be part of the historical event. Fresh in our minds will be every single signature that came into our website. Fresh in our hearts will be the support of each one of you. We will do our best to honor you, and as long as we do our best, we will never fail.
Join the summit meeting by watching online!
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on September 17, 2011 | Comments: 3
Today we are sending our very best wishes to all our friends around the world honoring International CML Awareness Day!!! This is a momentus occasion and it is inspiring to know that people worldwide are enjoined through this global initiative. Click here to find out how groups around the world are marking this important day.
Are you looking for a way to be part of International CML Awareness Day on September 22nd? The Max Foundation has posted two new video interviews about chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). All you have to do to raise awareness is to watch our videos and share them through your favorite social media outlet. Consider sending the video links to friends by email, posting them on your Facebook page or even sharing them on Twitter.
Together, we have the power to increase awareness around the world!
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on September 21, 2011 | Comments: 2
LIVESTRONG Day is on Sunday, October 2nd and friends around the world are encouraged to WEAR YELLOW to show that you are joined in the fight against cancer. The Max Foundation proudly stands with LIVESTRONG and is united in honoring October as a month to celebrate life. This Sunday, we also celebrate life with a “HAPPY BIRTHDAY SHOUT OUT” to our friend Aidan who is already a survivor.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on September 30, 2011 | Comments: 4
On September 8, thirty excited cancer patients gathered at the hematology lab at Philippine General Hospital in Manila to get their blood drawn. They were part of a unique program that would give them the opportunity to test the efficacy of their ongoing cancer treatment. Expected needle jitters were replaced by a party atmosphere. In typical Filipino style, at the head of the party was Rod, a man whose love for his son continues to be the catalyst of help for an entire community.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on September 29, 2011 | Comments: 1
This was a week of first times in Addis; first time that a representative of the Federal Ministry of Health participated of a community meeting of this kind, first time representatives of the media were present, first time parents of children with cancer were able to voice their concerns and demand better services. It was also a week in which for the first time, molecular monitoring of cancer treatment was done anywhere in Sub-Saharan Africa. Earlier in the week, a pilot test had been conducted to determine the molecular response of four patients to treatment of CML. The importance of this leap in the ability of doctors to successfully treat patients was felt like a shockwave throughout the health care community of the country. The excitement of the veil of darkness being lifted and the anticipation of a full program coming soon made the Celebration of Life on Saturday, October 8, that much special.
'Read More' to hear about the full program during the Celebration of Life in Addis, Ethiopia.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on October 11, 2011 | Comments: 3
October 19th marks the anniversary of Max’s birthday. For those of us who keep Max alive in our hearts throughout our daily lives, this year’s remembrance takes his legacy even closer to what we might imagine his mission to be: helping children to survive cancer.
We lost Max at a time when the therapy he needed was not yet realized. And yet today, we live in a time where lack of access to novel treatments and diagnostics remains a barrier for helping children to live beyond cancer. With that in mind, it is in Max’s honor that we envisioned “Children can rise above cancer too”.
Happy birthday, Max; you inspire us to do great things. We carry your spirit with us with every step we take.
In honor of Max’s birthday anniversary, we commit to bringing the “Give Soap – Save a Child” Project to fruition. Please join us by making your pledge today on behalf of children facing cancer.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on October 18, 2011 | Comments: 10
Dear volunteers, supporters and most of all dear friends and members of the worldwide Max family: on this very special day, Max’s day, I can’t help but to feel blessed to be walking this road together with all of you. I am grateful for the opportunity to be united with you in the Maximize Life Movement. I am honored by the dignity with which, together, we carry on Max’s legacy. I can feel your energy and it gives me renewed strength.
Today we celebrate the gift he has given us, the gift of our friendship. Thank you, Max, and Happy Birthday.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on October 19, 2011 | Comments: 2
In the US, we are on the eve of Valentine's Day, a holiday about showing your love, appreciation and affection for the people in your life. As cancer survivors, caregivers and advocates, we show our love in many ways and often through our actions. This Valentine's Day you can also show your love to friends and family by sending MAX Valentine E-cards. With a wonderful selection of art submitted by people living with cancer and their caregivers, the MAX Valentine's Day E-cards are a great way to express your sentiments while honoring the courage of survivors everywhere.
Don't know what to buy for your loved one? Make a contribution to The Max Foundation on their behalf and we will let them know you made a gift in their honor.
Browse the selection of cards and get started
Happy Valentine's Day!
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on February 13, 2012 | Comments: 0
The ‘What is MY PCR?’ campaign is a community driven - global awareness campaign aimed to increasing awareness of the need to regularly monitor treatment for CML, leading to the optimization of clinical outcomes. The campaign will feature ‘What is MY PCR?’ buttons as well as patient journals and other materials which will be made available among members of CML patient organizations and CML patients in the US and around the world. The ‘What is MY PCR?’ campaign will be launched around CML Awareness Day, September 22, 2012, through a partnership among CML patient organizations and key opinion leaders on CML.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on July 19, 2012 | Comments: 5
On behalf of Viji and myself, I would like to say thank you to all the dear friends and colleagues that made our wish come true. Donating our birthdays this year made the day that much more extra special. Watching the support come in deepened our commitment to the community.
With a goal of $1,000 USD to support the work of The MAX Foundation, we are happy to report having raised a total of US$1,780.00!!! One hundred percent of the fund will be applied to continuing our efforts to support people living with blood cancer and rare cancer around the world.
Yes, we are one year older, however we are energized by the love received today and always. May we all continue to be surrounded by friends and family on our special day, and may we have many birthdays to celebrate together.
Viji and Pat
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on July 31, 2012 | Comments: 6
LALNET y la Fundación MAX invitan a todos los pacientes con LMC en América Latina a asistir al Primer Coloquio Virtual sobre “Tratamiento de la Leucemia Mieloide Crónica”, con presentación en español a cargo del doctor Jorge Cortés, prestigioso hematólogo del MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston TX.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on August 20, 2012 | Comments: 5
What is an advocate if not an individual who can passionately convey the importance of a pressing need? Being at the right place at the right time and speaking to an audience with potential to make a difference is tremendously important for advocates. Six months after one passionate patient advocate stood up at a conference to share how he was scolded by his doctor for asking to know his PCR results, an international community-driven campaign was launched to increase awareness, education and understanding of the need to properly monitor CML treatment.
We are just getting started: in the words of Dr. Radich, ‘give PCR a chance!’ Join the campaign to get regular campaign updates http://www.whatismypcr.org/JoinCampaign.aspx
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on October 03, 2012 | Comments: 3
Once a year in the United States, we have a holiday that reminds us of the importance of expressing gratitude. In the midst of our lives which we often turn into schedules that are too busy, with self-imposed chores which are too many, Thanksgiving allows us to stop, look around us, and appreciate what we have.
As proud members of the Maximize Life movement, today we say: “Thanks, from the bottom of our hearts, to our supporters without whom we would not be able to provide services; our colleagues who make the impossible seem not only possible but also easy; our partners who allow us to reach higher; our physicians whose dedication is unparalleled; our patient group leaders who teach us the true meaning of generosity; and to the families we serve, our patients and caregivers, who are dignity and courage personified.”
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on November 21, 2012 | Comments: 2
There is still time to show your appreciation to your loved ones this holiday season. Look no further than the MAX E-holiday card series! It is a wonderful way to show your affection, while honoring the courage of people living with cancer. The Maximize Life holiday art series is a unique selection of art from cancer survivors around the world. With our user-friendly customizable tool you can write a unique message in your card for each recipient.
About the art~ “The light of awareness” was painted by Devaditya, a young cancer survivor in India. Artist’s Descrption: Depicted the sun as The Max Foundation who removes darkness of cancer & brings new light to millions of patient everyday.
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on December 23, 2012 | Comments: 0
This art, titled, “My Present” was created by Fan, cancer survivor, advocate, and leader from Malaysia. Today, as we move into the New Year, we would like to share “our present” with you: a moving story we received this morning from one of our global team members. As a preview of our upcoming series in Advocacy in Action, please read Wirat’s post, in his own words.
December 28, 2012. "This was last working day for me in the office for the year 2012. I was standing by alone in the office, busying working pick up and making phone calls, trying to clear all the patient cases before the long holiday...
Posted by Pat Garcia-Gonzalez on December 28, 2012 | Comments: 0