Vijayalakshmi Venkatesh brings with her 34 years of professional experience in cancer patient care and support in her role as Region Head, India & South Asia at The Max Foundation. Vijayalakshmi began with The Max Foundation in 2001 by leading the administration of the Glivec International Patient Assistance Program (GIPAP) in India. Today, in addition to GIPAP, she has a key role in the management of the local Novartis Oncology Access Program (NOA).
During the last 15 years, alongside these access programs, she has developed the Friends of Max (FOM) patient support group, a Charitable Trust of which she is Chairman & Managing Trustee. FOM began in Mumbai and now has 15 local chapters throughout India with over 250 core group volunteer leaders representing more than 18,000 members. Through the years, Vijayalakshmi has served many community leadership roles in the cancer care arena; including her time as the Asia Coordinator for the International Union against Cancer (UICC) where she developed and led symposiums, workshops and learning programs. She was also instrumental in help setting up the Preventive Oncology Department at Tata Memorial Hospital in 1991, where she has contributed to the renowned institute as an active member of its Ethics Committee.
She is also one of the Executive Committee members of the Marrow Donor Registry India and the Terry Fox India Committee. She is also a Trustee of the Being Human The Salman Khan Foundation.
In 2009, Vijayalakshmi was awarded the Scroll of Honor for her outstanding contribution in the field of Social Service from the Health Minister of Bihar at the World Cancer Day Celebration in Patna, India.
In 2016 she was awarded the Max Patient Advocacy Award for her relentless efforts in convincing the Government of India to reinstate the Customs Duty waiver on the drug that was the Gift of Life to thousands of CML and GIST patients in India.
Vijayalakshmi lives in Mumbai, India with her husband and travels regularly to see her family spread across the globe.