Thousands of patients are diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) annually around the world. CML, like any other cancer, does not discriminate. It affects people from all regions and walks of life. However, unlike many other cancers, CML has an amazing story due to advancements made in its treatment in the last decade. It was only 15 years ago that a patient newly diagnosed with CML would have a prognosis of survival of less than 5 years with the treatments available at the time.
“CANCER” what comes to your mind as you read this six letter word? The five W’s, who, what, when, where and why comes to our head. In my life, who? Was my father, when? 2004, where? In his blood and why? The million dollar question whose answer we are still searching for.
For many patients, there aren’t many opportunities for them to learn about their disease directly from experts. So when the opportunity to hear from a hematologist at Naresuan University Hospital in Thailand, we were excited to maximize the event.
Have you visited the 2015 Maximize Life Essay Contest webpage recently? The Max Foundation is honored to share that the 2015 Maximize Life Essay Contest winners are officially released! Three winners in total, one for each of the French, English and Spanish categories, were selected by a panel of highly esteemed judges within the global health community. You may view the complete panel of judges here. We are exceedingly grateful for the valuable time and input provided by each of the judges. With 71 meaningful and authentic personal stories submitted, it was no small task to select only one winner for each language category!
In Latin America, the Maximize Life Campaign has become something like a tradition – a time when each patient organization creates an event or activity of their choice and powers it up for a campaign that takes on a life of its own! 13 patient groups from 11 Latin American countries joined this year's movement, bringing together patients and caregivers with the purpose of telling the community that cancer is an issue, that ignoring it is not going to make it go away, and that the best approach is to learn about it in order to know what to do about it. From governments to the general public, everybody can get involved in figuring out how to treat cancer patients as members of society and not as a burden.
The Indian subcontinent has always been characterized by the stoic inner strength of its population that has helped them overcome natural and man-made disasters that seem to always be lying in wait for them. Burdened by their large populations, poor economy and the inept administration of their largely unstable governments, it has fallen upon the people to come to their own rescue. And it is not so different for their health either. Besides the share of debilitating infectious diseases, many are facing a rising incidence of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer. The challenges here go beyond funding. There is fear, denial, and the heavy burden of stigma.
Every year, throughout the month of October, we honor Max and his legacy by partnering with our network of cancer organizations to carry out the Maximize Life Global Cancer Awareness Campaign. It is a month of service that aims at decreasing stigma and increasing hope for people living with cancer around the world.
Nothing is more powerful than storytelling, especially when it's told from a person's first-hand experience. In the Asia Pacific region, we are often known as “shy” community. We do not often share our stories publicly, especially a story about cancer diagnosis. We often have no one to turn to because we do not want our parents to worry; we do not want our children to feel the burden; we do not want to tell our neighbors who might be starting to avoid us because we are diagnosed with cancer.
This year, like past years, 16 patient support groups in Africa and Middle East have joined the Maximize Life Campaign with enthusiasm and excitement. All the groups in Africa welcome back our friends from Sierra Leone who inspired us all with their resilience in the face of the Ebola epidemic that touched their country.
October is my favorite month of the year. It marks a changing of the seasons in both the southern and northern hemispheres that brings a sense of reflection and excitement. As such, there could not be a more appropriate month to celebrate theMaximize Life Global Cancer Awareness Campaign, an initiative that encourages people impacted by cancer to reflect on their experiences, celebrate their resiliency, and share their stories with the world.
This summer, India Country Head Viji Venkatesh is crisscrossing the USA to host Chai for Cancer addas and share The Max Foundation vision. Started in India, Chai for Cancer is our global initiative to invite our community to partner with us. There have already been a number of events in Houston, Charlotte, and New Jersey with more to come!
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. In India, the word "Mela" means 'gathering' or 'to meet' or a 'fair'. India is a land of fairs and festivals – every month there are festivals held throughout the different regions of India.