Hooray for the IMF

| Tom Swick

Swick_2I am very grateful to the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) for giving me the opportunity to attend the 57th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting and Exposition in Orlando. It is one thing to read the abstracts and wait for the webcast summaries, but quite another to experience the dynamics of the hematology experts interacting together, and to pick up on some of the subtle nuances of the live event.

I especially want to thank Robin Tuohy for all her hard work in organizing and planning the details for myself and the 14 other support group leaders who attended. I’d like to acknowledge all those who helped her, but if I mention any names, I risk leaving somebody out!

I also want to thank the corporate sponsors, whose assistance made our attendance possible. Among them are Amgen, Celgene, Janssen, and Takeda Oncology.

I was asked to write about my favorite moment at ASH.  It’s not the one in the picture, although our resort accommodations were very nice. My moment was a personal one that gave me a sense of pride, or was it conceit? I had arrived just in time for one of the sessions. I chose a seat, but needed to climb over one gentleman to get to it. As I stood over him, I recognized him as one of the expert researcher clinicians from the Mayo Clinic, whom I had met and spoken to before, but not for a few years. Not sure if he would remember me, I started to reintroduce myself. But he said to me “your name came up recently in one of our meetings.” As I wondered what bizarre strain of myeloma they must have discovered in me, he explained that they had a committee opening for a patient advocate, to replace our beloved Mike Katz, and I had been under consideration! I told him I would be honored to serve in that capacity, but also gave him the names of some other patients whom I thought would be qualified.

So that’s it for ASH 2015. ASH 2016 will be held in San Diego, practically local to me. It’s much better without the jet lag, and I hope the IMF will invite me back.

Follow Tom on Twitter: @IMFtomMYELOMA
The Orange County Multiple Myeloma Support Group
Orange, CA

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