Learning About Leadership from Friends of Max in India


Our Guest Bloggers collaborating on this summit overview are members of The Max Foundation team based in India who led and participated in the Friends of Max 2015 Leadership Summit. They include Shilpi Sirohi Singh, Ashika Naik, Ameya Surve, and Priyanka Kandalgaokar.

Last month, Friends of Max (FOM), the support group arm of The Max Foundation (Max) in India gathered for their second Leadership Summit in Hyderabad. Friends of Max is a charitable trust registered in India comprised of individuals impacted directly and indirectly by chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST). More than 120 City Chapter leaders and the whole team from The Max Foundation in India attended the meeting on 18th and 19th April 2015. This event rallied advocates and practitioners who serve and support people living with cancer in India. It was a full couple of days!

The highlight of the first day was the medical session focusing on issues related to long-term therapy in CML and GIST, chaired by Dr. Pankaj Malhotra. Physicians from the FOM Medical Advisory Board shared their valuable inputs on this important topic. The physicians from our network in Hyderabad joined by the senior physicians and Max CEO, Pat Garcia-Gonzalez, discussed establishing a consensus or guidelines for managing CML and GIST in the subcontinent.

Efforts and courage are not useful without purpose and direction, and we know this through the tireless work of the Friends of Max City Chapters. In the afternoon, six City Chapters showcased activities and achievements which won them recognition as Best Practices at the Leadership Summit:

  • The Pune City Chapter, the youngest among all the chapters in India, presented their strategy for becoming a full-fledged City Chapter in a very short time span. Their motto for forging ahead is ‘being together is success’ which was seen through their cohesive team spirit.
  • The Delhi City Chapter educated us in fundraising partnerships as seen through their work with a famous Delhi Cancer hospital – Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute (RGCI). Every core member from the Delhi chapter was involved in the event. Doctors and their team donated generously for the event.
  • The Kolkata City Chapter discussed the various aspects of fundraising and the many concerns a donor may have prior to donating to the cause: tax rebates, belief in the institution, and confidence in the leadership.
  • The City Chapter of Patna shared how every year since their 2008 launch, they have been successfully conducting regional meets with a steadily growing group of participants. These meetings serve as a camp for patients and give them a chance to interact with their physicians. Along with fundraising, they also have entertainment for the participants with a toy-train ride, a play, and steamer ride on the Ganges!
  • The Ranchi City Chapter detailed challenges and solutions in their 10-year long journey before successfully hosting their first regional meeting. They gained the support and presence of a political leader, which made the participants feel welcome and respected. At their meeting various issues, such as compliance, patient queries, and side effects were discussed. It was a place to network and bond together among volunteers, patients, and physicians.
  • The Indore City Chapter, representing the large state of Madhya Pradesh, shared information about their 2014 regional meet, including their excellent medical sessions and a drama therapy workshop. The Indore City Chapter also invited media to cover the meeting in the local newspaper, which helped raise awareness of the Friends of Max mission and purpose.

The Leadership Summit was off to a great start with all the best practice sharing so that leaders could learn from each other. And we still had another day ahead of us! Check out our post about the second day and learn what a ‘Mela’ is in India!

The Max Foundation

The Max Foundation exists to increase global access to treatment, care, and support for people living with cancer.

Follow the Patient Journey

Join Rosario as she shares her journey from cancer patient to advocate and leader.
See Rosario's Journey