A very special visitor at Max India

Prof John Goldman needs no introduction to any of us in The Max Foundation. A venerated member of our Medical Board and the Chair of the Board of Directors of the iCMLf, he has for years been the doyen and last authority on CML. (http://www.cml-foundation.org/about-icmlf/executive-structure/33-john-goldman )
In India he plays a very special role as guide and mentor to the Marrow Donor Registry Of India , and as one of the committee members , every time he visits Bombay I have had the honour and good opportunity to engage with him and learn from his varied and valuable experience. In all these interactions there was one thing I never managed to do till today; get John to visit with us in the Max Foundation office.
Well that is now changed and we were very proud hosts for more than two hours to one of the most charming, humble and humane persons we have had the chance to meet. When close to noon he called to say would be with us by 3pm there was great excitement as we prepared to be ready to showcase to Prof John Goldman the work we did for Chronic Myeloid Leukemia patients in this vast subcontinent.
It had been very busy all day and we were expecting it to continue in the same vein so we were happy he could witness a typical day in the life of Max India . We decided to postpone our weekly team meeting and use that time to spruce up the office a little bit and distribute the “showcasing” amongst all team members !!
He turned up a whole half an hour ahead of time throwing us into a tizzy but just for a few minutes for he put us at ease with his simple and charming manner. The first twenty minutes he spent with me during which I gave him a broad idea of the scope of our work in NOA /GIPAP , the composition of Team India , our partners in the programme and the number of physicians we work with and their geographical distribution . He was also happy to learn of the growth of Friends of Max . Three of the core group leaders also joined us in response to my last minute request to them .
John then met with the many patients who were waiting to be attended to by the team , spoke and interacted with all the team members , learning from each their specific roles in the organization. He was very interested to see how representation from various parts of the country were demonstrated in our Butterfly Map where patients marked with a little butterfly sticker their native town /village.
He was happy to hear of our Signature Campaign and signed his name to it once Leenata explained what it was in aid of . He was impressed with the work Ashok and Philip did in attending to such a big load of patient visitors daily and complimented Philip on his “exquisite handwriting “ when he saw the names entered in the daily patient register.
He has such an easy manner and put everyone at ease especially when he stated, upon seeing some of our patients that today , thanks to Glivec the expected life span of a CML survivor was no different from one who did not have CML.
Then it was Ayeshah’s turn to give him a history of the programme in India and how we had grown alongside with the number of patients in the programme in terms of managing it with best efficiencies. He was very relieved , he said , to know that in all this , especially the introduction of very specific financial evaluation, the patients’ dignity and privacy was respected .
He was pleasantly surprised and impressed when he found out Sudha could speak at least five different languages and when Melissa gifted him with the traditional FOM kit bag with all the reading material he could not resist taking a look at the Book of Stories and exclaiming at the fact that these were available to patients in many regional languages.
Before he left , we all had an informal session in my room discussing the topography of Bombay and some of its colorful history and Gothic architecture. FOM leader Dr Vaz matched Prof John word for word and quotation for quotation as we discussed writers from Rudyard Kipling to Salman Rushdie.
When John remarked that the British had left us a legacy of the English Language and the Railways I added yes , and also one Prof John Goldman he was quite delighted .

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