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Past Due

The anniversary of someone’s death is always difficult. Just as we recently remembered Max’s passing, we also hold the others who have passed too soon. Below, Beena shares a remembrance of our dear Jaya, who was a committed team member and played that role of a patient advocate amazingly well until she so sadly lost her battle with cancer on 23rd Feb 2016. We at The Max Foundation remember her as one of the bravest contributors to our community and as an exemplar of the spirit of Max.

I was cleaning up folders on my laptop when I chanced upon the following word document. Being the first death anniversary of our beloved Jaya, I thought it is only right that I post this today, as a tribute to a wonderful colleague, a true warrior who clung on to her life, never gave up till the last moment despite her illness.


Recently, I discovered a whole new meaning to the phrase “past due”.

Mr.Kunjappan was on my past due list, and I made the usual follow up call to enquire why he had not been reapproved yet.

He informed me that he is really poor and cannot afford the cost of tests advised, and that he finds even the Rs.150/- (less than $3) fee for the doctor’s appointment unaffordable.

I advised him to go meet his physician with his entire story. Doctor would surely help.

A week passed, and he had not yet been reapproved. When I called again, Kunjappan was hesitant to approach the physician as his OPD was too crowded. I persisted, and he met his physician.

I happened to meet the physician soon after, and brought up the topic of Kunjappan. It came as a surprise to me that the patient had not mentioned any of his financial problems to the doctor.

So, I called Kunjappan and asked him why he had not told the doctor of his difficulties?

Kunjappan burst out crying over the phone. Amidst sobs, he told me of the days when he had been abandoned by others and had gone to the physician in despair. The kind doctor had put him on the programme and also helped him financially.

Kunjappan said he could not go back again and again to exploit the kindness of his God-like physician. So he had sold his only means of transport, his beloved bicycle, to raise the money. He would go back to the hospital, complete the tests, and get his re-approval soon.

I was touched beyond measure.

I now understood the extent of obligation that the patient felt towards his physician. His “past dues” to the doctor prevented him from asking any more favours of the doctor!

Kunjappan was seen taking the lead in the first ever GIST meeting that was held in Kochi.

Let us all create “past dues” in others’ minds, without us reminding them ever, of course. Max would be smiling on us from above. Isn’t this his mission for us?

Kunjappan got another bicycle after all. When my husband heard of Kunjappan’s plight, he was moved to tears too, and told me to gift him our old bicycle which was lying unused.


Beena Narayanan

I am Beena Narayanan, Program Officer for India (South), Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. I have been working with The Max Foundation for the past 12 years. Professionally my passion is for patient advocacy. Irrespective of the role I got to play in Max, the common thread has always been caring for the needy. I am blessed to be given the opportunity to serve my fellow beings. My personal passion is my family who have been pillars of support to me at all times.



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