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“ all united , all unique” celebrating World CML Day in Jodhpur and Kolkata, India

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On behalf of The Max Foundation and the Friends of Max I am happy to share our contribution to World CML Day 2013 with all through the CML Advocates website and the Blog . A big thanks to the team at CML Advocates who have inspired and encouraged us to take our activities to greater heights   On Sunday , 22nd September World CML Day dawned bright and clear in two cities in India , on two opposite sides of our vast land . Jodhpur , in the West , in the heart of Rajasthan , the Abode of Kings and by the side of the vast Thar desert where the sun sets on the stark landscape in a burst of glory each day  . And Kolkata , right across the country , the capital of Bengal , that abode of art and culture where the mighty Ganges flows into the Bay of Bengal all the way from the mighty Himalayas and from where the sun rises each morning kissing the country with its searing rays .   Everything in these two states is as different as chalk form cheese ; be it the language , the food , the terrain or the clothes worn by the people who belong to these great regions. Yet , we are bound together by bonds at once even too difficult to describe . As I write this report I think to myself our 2013 logo , “ all united , all unique” cannot be more apt.   If being an Indian and above all being a good human being unites us and transcends all barriers , then on that morning , there was something else in common that was bringing more than 350 people together at the two far boundaries of this country . CML .   Yes , in Jodhpur and in Kolkata , that morning families touched by CML were trooping in to attend the special meeting arranged solely for their benefit .   The Max Foundation India team is honoured that the physician community in India reached out to us and  entrusted  the responsibility of organising an event that would commemorate this day and enable the CML community to come together and celebrate life . We call it Maximise Life and that is exactly what happened.   With Dr Hemant Malhotra in Jodhpur and Dr Reena Nair in Kolkata offering us all the support we needed , it was a matter of a couple of weeks before we reached out to everyone in the region and invited them to join us for a day of education , awareness and entertainment .  Friends of Max in both cities , a large established group in Kolkata and a fledgling one in Jodhpur got their act together and before you could say Philadelphia Chromosome , the most exciting programmes were chalked out .   Where in Jodhpur we had the 100 strong audience listening with rapt attention to testimonials of champions who have weathered the diagnosis of CML for over a decade and those who found love and happiness even in the midst of the trauma it brought on , In Kolkata , more than 220 participants cheered and clapped lustily as the curtains fell on the One Act play that took everyone through the family of Navin and Stuti as they coped with the diagnosis in their own family , involved their children in its understanding and contributing to their father’s good adherence practices, to aware and alert oncologists recommending accepted monitoring via PCR ; to employers who supported their team members notwithstanding the stigma still attached to cancer and to the strong presence and support of friends and families who formed support groups to embrace newly diagnosed patients into their fold .   In both the meetings we had the best of the medical fraternity from the region sharing their expertise and patiently answering all the queries asked by the audience . Where in Kolkata we had Dr Mammen Chandy explaining the relevance of 9/22 in CML , in Jodhpur we had Dr Hemant Malhotra and Dr Tulika Seth hold forth on the importance of compliance and adherence .   Two expert panels in Kolkata further took up various issues that patients on long term therapy face and the discussions that ensued managed to involve everyone present .   No meeting in India is complete without music and food and it was a happy group that went back to their home and hearth after a day of camaraderie and CML sharings     Viji Venkatesh Country Head , India

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