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.
We are excited to share our 2014 Annual Report with you! This year, our Annual Report outlines how The Max Foundation is building on its mission to increase global access to treatment, care, and support. We detail how our organization is building ecosystems that help people facing cancer in a myriad of ways: from medical treatment to emotional support; from patient education to community engagement. Throughout the report, we feature patient leaders who work to give back to their community. And of course, we transparently report on our finances.
In an ideal world, a diagnosed cancer patient would receive disease and treatment information from their physician and healthcare workers at the clinic. With access to technology, they would broaden their knowledge and gain additional support from a patient group. Family and community members would also play a supportive role in searching for information and support.
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!
We’re often reminded of why we put an effort in supporting people facing cancer – whether it comes through a patient story or through an organization’s investment in our work. This week, we humbly received another reminder: on Friday, May 22, the International Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) Foundation awarded our CEO Pat Garcia-Gonzalez with the inaugural ERSAP (Emerging Region Support and Partnership) Prize. The iCMLf Directors and Scientific Advisors selected Pat because of her continued commitment, and The Max Foundation’s aim, to help people face cancer with dignity and hope.
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.
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!
At The Max Foundation, increasing global access to treatment for people around the world living with cancer is a core element of our mission. But access to treatment is only one piece in helping all people facing cancer live with dignity and hope. Fostering care and support for patients processing the hardships of cancer is essential.
The Max Foundation (Max) and Friends of Max (FOM) proudly announce the formalization of their long standing collaboration supporting people living with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) in India. The two organizations signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the recent Friends of Max 2015 Leadership Summit attended by Max CEO, Pat Garcia-Gonzalez in Hyderabad on April 19th.