The Chai for Cancer Road Show-South India

FOM’s latest initiative, The Chai for Cancer Road Show, was flagged off on 19th October 2023. It was especially planned to celebrate Max’s birthday and legacy in whose name The Max Foundation was set up and who inspires and motivates us every day. 

Joining Karthikeyan, City Chapter Leader from Tamil Nadu, Friends of Max, Viji Venkatesh, FOM Trustee and Max Regional Head for South Asia, on this thrilling South India Road Show, the duo travelled through Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka covering a distance of around 1300 kms, spreading awareness and raising funds for patients living with CML and GIST, two types of rare cancers.

The Road Show served as a platform to unite cancer patients, their caregivers and treating physicians, patient advocates and the general public. It attracted the attention of and engaged the will of the local community enroute and spread awareness about the challenges and needs of patients coping with these types of cancers. 

During the roadshow, nine Addas were held:

  • 18th October, 2023- Uddumalpettai 
  • 19th October 2023- Kochi
  • 20th October, 2023- Kochi 
  • 21st October, 2023- Calicut 
  • 22nd October, 2023- Gudalur 
  • 23rd October, 2023- Mysore 
  • 24th October, 2023- Bengaluru 
  • 25th October, 2023- Pondicherry
  • 26th October, 2023- Chennai

The concluding event for the Road Show was held at the iconic Adyar Cancer Institute (WIA), Chennai on 26 October 2023 with physicians and staff from the institute joining in. 

By our side as always, amplifying our voice and taking it to their thousands of listeners were our Radio Partners Red FM India, Red FM Telugu, Red FM Malayalam, Red FM Kannada and Suryan FM. 

Over 10,000 cups of chai (Rupees Ten lakhs in INR) raised in support over the nine days! We remain grateful to all our generous and ever enthusiastic hosts, collaborators, physicians and FOM City Chapter Leaders who worked so hard and with so much enthusiasm to make this a great event.

Last but not the least the champions of the South India Road Show- Karthikeyan and Viji without whose participation this would not have been possible!

18th October 2023
Inaugural Adda hosted by Karthikeyan, City Chapter Leader, Tamil Nadu on the eve of Max’s Day. 

The first of the eight Addas lined up in the South Chapter of the Chai for Cancer Roadshow, was hosted by our City Chapter Leader and Road Show ace driver, Karthikeyan, at his parents’ farm house in Udumelaipettai. 

Viji and Karthikeyan both spoke about the need for awareness and the vision and mission of Friends of Max as well as the story of Max himself. Viji went on to address the over 100 strong guests and spoke about Chai for Cancer and the needs and challenges faced by patients living with the diagnosis of CML and GIST. 

Seen at the Adda, which went on till late, were Karthikeyan’s many friends and his Rotary community enjoying the delicious dinner served with live music and the hospitality of the warm hosts. As the evening progressed, so did the tally of cups of chai raised, and finally, by the time the last guest left, over 3000 cups had been raised for the cause! 

The Max Foundation’s Jyotiy Parameshwaran who works from her home office in Coimbatore along with her husband Paramesh who is an active Friends of Max volunteer completely and efficiently took charge of the donation counter. 

19th October 2023:
Vijayalakshmi Medical Centre: Dr Vijayalakshmi G Pillai & Deepak Gopakumar from 6pm onwards

The Road Show reached Kochi on 19th of October. The first of the two Addas was hosted by Dr Vijayalakshmi G Pillai & Deepak Gopakumar. 

We are thankful to Sanish Bhaskaran for organising this gathering at the Vijayalakshmi Medical Centre by the gracious Dr Vijayalakshmi herself and Deepak Gopukumar. The highlight of the evening was the absolutely engaging talk by Dr Vijayalakashmi on a very important issue faced by CML survivors as by many others, that of conceiving / fathering children. 

20th October 2023:
Abad Plaza, Kochi
Time: from 3 pm onwards

Once again Chai for Cancer was back at Abad Plaza, Kochi. In 2016 they hosted us for Friends of Max Leadership Summit and The Max Foundation Rising Sun Asia Meet for which we will always remain grateful to them for their warm hospitality. On 20th as part of the Road Show, Abad Plaza hosted The Chai for Cancer Adda at the elegant Inner Circle Lounge of the hotel and had friends and family, doctors and their colleagues from Amruta Hospital, patient leaders, volunteers and representatives from The Max Foundation, all enjoying cancer conversations over delicious chai and snacks. Special guest and speaker Bindu of Abad shared her remarkable journey with Breast Cancer as did Karthikeyan his with CML. 

Volunteers Rajesh and Beena (The Max Foundation) manned the donation counter where the Chai for Cancer tees and mugs went as fast as the chai and vadais at the next table! 

A big thankyou to Mr. Manzoor and Abad Plaza for hosting us once again.

21st October 2023:
Beach Heritage Inn, Calicut
Time: from 2:00pm onwards

An absolute smashing hit is what comes to our mind as we write about this special adda! So much effort and planning put into by FOM group of enthusiastic Kerala FOM City Chapter Leaders and star volunteer Sajeevan P, to make the Adda such a success. Sajeevan ably supported by Jinto, Mujeeb Mohan Kumar and Sharafuddeen made sure all the preparations were made well in advance. As Viji and Karthikeyan drove into the beautiful venue by the sea, the Beach Heritage Inn, they could not have asked for a better setting. A special mention to Dr N K Warrier who spent so much time with the guests and for his very generous contribution to the cause. We will remain forever grateful.

There was nonstop flow of delicious chai and the cookies Calicut is famous for thanks to the Beach Hotel’s generosity to the steady stream of guests – our own FOM volunteers, patients and their families and the volunteers from Prateeksha our peers in Calicut. We thank each one of who joined us and contributed so generously. 

22nd October 2023:
Rotary Club of Gudalur Valley
Time: 11 am onwards

Viji Venkatesh and Karthikeyan travelled to Gudalur from Calicut for the Adda as per the Road Show plan. Below is what Viji Venkatesh had to say of her experience:

“Gudalur is a little town nestled in a valley in the Nilgiris and the Chai for Cancer Road Show took us there for Adda No 5 en route to Mysore and beyond. We were actually coming back into Tamil Nadu on our way into Karnataka. Our hosts were the Rotary Club of Gudalur Valley. We are so grateful to their President Rtn. Johnson and Secretary Rtn. Zubair for volunteering to gather their office bearers, past presidents and members arranging the event in their club house. They exemplified their motto which is Service before Self as they raised their cups and contributed generously to our cause.”

23rd October 2023: The Pranava Cancer Centre, Mysore
Time: 4pm onwards

The Chai for Cancer Road Show reached Mysore from Gudalur on 23 October 2023 for the Adda hosted by The Max Foundation Physician Dr Mukesh and his colleague Dr Girish at The Pranava Cancer Centre. 

We are grateful to them for supporting the cause and to many of their physician colleagues who joined the Adda and raised their cups for the wellbeing of patients living with CML and GIST, two types of rare cancers. 

The Chai for Cancer team looks forward to many more such collaborations.

24 October 2023: 
Hosted by Sreedevi Raghavan

The Bengaluru Adda was hosted by Sreedevi Raghavan, one of the 100 Saree Pact Divas and Life Coach. What made it special for Sreedevi was that it was an auspicious day, and so along with her friends, FOM City Chapter Leaders and Volunteers and The Max Foundation team members the Adda was conducted.  The Adda helped to raise funds and create awareness. The conversations ranged from access to treatment to financial toxicity that comes in the way of that access, patients and their rights, insurance or rather lack of it and how so many of us are unaware of support systems that exist in the very hospitals we go for treatment. Chai for Cancer tees and mugs were popular souvenirs in demand and contributions came in generously. And then of course there was chai and bajjis and Tamil film songs to add to the charm of the evening.

Date: 25 October 2023
Suryan FM Studio, Pondicherry, at 5pm

Viji Venkatesh and Karthikeyan drive down to Suryan FM studio in Pondicherry to speak to their listeners about Cancer, Chai for Cancer and how our latest initiative The Chai for Cancer Road Show 2023 has helped to spread awareness and raise funds for patients living with CML and GIST and who are on lifelong treatment.

Date: 26 October 2023
Adyar Cancer Institute, WIA, Chennai, from 2:30 pm onwards

Eight cities, eight days and eight Chai for Cancer Addas later, raising funds and creating awareness, the Road Show finally reached the Adyar Cancer Institute (WIA) in Chenani on the 26th of October 2023. This was the last stop and the Road Show could not have asked for a better conclusion than this. It was a memorable moment for Viji and Karthikeyan as they drove into the institute and to be warmly welcomed by the dedicated Chennai FOM City Chapter Leaders with their families. The group was later joined in by the physicians and staff of the institute. It was indeed an honour for Karthikeyan, Viji and our patient leaders to share their experiences and to listen to the physicians speak about their partnership with FOM and The Max Foundation and how the partnership is helping achieve common goals for CML patient community.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *