As I reflect on the week spent at ASH, I once again feel a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to attend, am encouraged by the advances in therapy, and am excited for the future. Most importantly, I am thankful for the myeloma community! We make up an amazing group of patients, caregivers, supporters, clinicians, organizations, and companies. ASH brings this community together and refuels the passion annually. I can summarize my ASH experience with the idea that multiple myeloma has become my ticket to change the world.
Tom Brokaw delivered a passionate reminder during ASH18, that at a time when the nation is divided on almost everything, healthcare is the one area we should be united and come together to make a difference. He spoke to a room of hematology experts (and 8 patients) about the importance of providing care that is compassionately delivered to all patients. He acknowledged his privilege and access to the best care, but unselfishly provided a voice for those without such benefits.
“There is no greater fundamental need for a country than to provide high quality healthcare for its people”, he shared. “You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”
Specifically, to the myeloma patients in the rooms, he posited, “We are a community, don’t be afraid to ask for help.” Mr. Brokaw shared personal introductions and brief conversation with us (patients) at the conclusion of his talk, followed by a group photograph.
Without a doubt Mr. Brokaw’s notoriety as an esteemed journalist has increased awareness of multiple myeloma since his disclosure. As myeloma warriors, we echo the sentiment of Mr. Brokaw that “we are in this together.” We too inspire and are champions of increasing the breadth and depth of myeloma awareness, impacting and changing lives daily. We are using myeloma as our ticket to change the world.
A heartfelt thank you to the IMF and Support Group Leaders for all you do!
Wishing you Hope,