Wednesday, October 21, 2009.
Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, is one of the greenest and well-planned cities of South Asia. It is also Pakistan’s cleanest and well-organized city with a population of 1.9 million.
We held the third Celebration of Life event here on Wednesday morning, October 21, 2009 at the Shifa International Hospital, already our partner institution in Islamabad. The management was kind enough to let us use their Oncology Department’s Conference Room for this celebration.
Some fifty-five (55) guests comprising GIPAP and NOVA-P patients and their care-givers participated in addition to Col. (Retired) Dr. Saleem Siddiqui, Head of Oncology, and Dr. (Ms.) Qurratul ‘Ayn – the Novartis physician assisting Dr. Siddiqui at the Shifa International Hospital, Islamabad. Also present were 4 paramedic staff members of Oncology Clinic who wholeheartedly assisted in the proceedings.
The MaxStation started the event by thanking the participants and utilizing the opportunity to remind them first about CML and GISIT and the necessity of increased public awareness to enable their prevention and proper treatment and cure. The MaxStation told the gathering about the role of TMF and its partnership with Novartis to fight these danagerous challenges and facilitating its costly treatment free-of-cost.
The MaxStation emphasized the importance of the occasion which was to celebrate Max Birthday as a Celebration of Life. He then read out the Urdu translation of the message of Pat .
The event as usual was held in an informal, friendly and interactive style. The MaxStation gave the audience time to give their candid and spontaneous feedback after they had listened to Pat’s message. Some of the patients were sentimental in expressing their gratitude towards the TMF and Novartis. They had by this time already known Max as someone close to their heart just like a family member. They prayed for his soul and for the continuing success of this noble humanitarian mission initiated by Max’s mother.
Col. (Retired) Dr. Saleem Siddiqui was then invited to speak. He reminded the patients that they should be thankful to TMF-Novartis for providing them this costly treatment completely free. He stressed upon the need to follow physician’s instruction and a regimen of regular check-ups. Dr. Qurratul ‘Ayn said she was proud to be associated with this humanitarian endeavour bringing together TMF and Novartis in a meaningful collaboration.
Two very distinguished volunteers who have already been our core members of the Islamabad CML community, also graced the occasion. One was Prof. Muhammad Raftaz Kayani, of the Department of Physics at Federal Government’s Postgraduate College in Islamabad. The other, Prof. Mohammad Anwar Kazim, a teacher of English at Islamic International University of Islamabad, is also a member of the Pakistan Chapter of Amnesty International. We are proud to have both these high-calibre academicians as our supporters and voluntary partners. Each one expressed a deep appreciation of TMF’s thoughtful initiative and its assistance to Pakistani patients. Prof. Kazim spoke of the need to spread the message of peace to the humanity and participate in efforts to promote peace globally. Prof. Kayani was of the view that service humanity is the real objective of man’s creation and TMF is doing its best to contribute its share in materializing this great objective.
After the speeches, the MaxStation invited a 6-year old girl patient to cut Max Birthday’s cake. This girl was diagnosed with CML 2 years ago and on learning about the diagnosis, his old father was extremely distressed obviously for a variety of reasons. However, the timely intervention of TMF came to their help and with improvement due to the treatment, the father’s worries gradually changed into happiness and thankfulness.
MaxStation had arranged the event’s catering from Shifa International’s Nutrition Dept. that supervises their high-quality cafeterias. The delicious pineapple cake was distributed among the participants. Then snacks were served with fruit juices.
MaxStation distributed the “Maximize Life” wristbands among all the participants asking them to keep wearing them ‘as an act of solidarity and a way to promote cancer awareness throughout the month of October.’
The event came to a close in a dignified way when each participant mixed up with physicians and SIH Oncology Clinic staff and MaxStation. They thanked each other and bid farewell.
Hope the viewers will also indirectly participate in this celebration through the photos I have downloaded.