1st Regional CML Forum

One of my goals for this year is to reach out to patients
living in the far-flung areas. Through the years, majority of the patient
activities are being held in Manila, the most thickly populated city in the
country. Recognizing the need for disease education to improve compliance and
adherence to treatment, the 1st regional CML forum was held on March
13th in Santiago City, Isabela. It took me and two Touched by Max
volunteers about 9 hours bus ride to reach the place. The long journey made me
realized and appreciate the efforts made by few patients to attend our
activities in Manila.

As the date of the event was getting closer, I was still
unsure of the number of participants. Due to poor telephone signal in the area,
it was a big challenge to communicate with the patients. I had to rely mostly on
the help of the physician and her assistant plus few patients who have helped
me organized the event. Nonetheless, all our efforts were all worth it. More or
less 50 patients and caregivers came to participate. Some of the patients had
to travel 3-4 hours eager to listen to learn more about their disease.
Questions on complimentary/alternative medicines, couples wanting to have a
child and other relevant issues flooded after the physician discussed the disease.

The story of courage of two long time CML survivors have
also touched the hearts of the other patients. Their cancer journey have
inspired the other two newly diagnosed patients who have not started their
treatment yet.

I took the opportunity to present the scope of Max’s work and
how much we value the patient groups as a resource for patients. The challenge
of forming a patient group in the region was discussed with the group. At the end
of the day, a patient leader emerged and highly motivated to take on the

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