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Report from Madrid

Madrid, Spain

February 26, 2006

I was a little shocked to see snow in Madrid, (it is very rare to see snow there, especially snow that stays around for very long) but I arrived here at noon after catching the "air bridge," a quick commuter flight between Madrid and Barcelona. The weather caused many flight delays, but I still arrived early for my lunch appointment with Salvador Rubio at the Portonovo restaurant north of the city. The reason for the appointment was to discuss plans regarding the founding of the first Spanish patients' association. (If such an association already exists, we don't know of it, and it probably is not patient-organized and driven).

Mr. Rubio and I met at last year's IMF Patient and Family Seminar in Madrid last October, which was organized by Dr. Jesus San Miguel. In the course of a conversation with Dr. Durie, Susie Novis, and me, Mr. Rubio mentioned that he was very interested in starting this group. We wholeheartedly supported the idea. Since I was planning on attending the 2nd European Congress on Hematologic Malignancies (see my report from Barcelona for details), I had contacted him to see if we could meet to discuss progress and the IMF's assistance.

He arrived promptly at 1:30pm and we proceeded to our table. I think that the waitstaff didn't realize that we were more focused on the item at hand than on our lunch, but when it arrived, it was a delicious meal of cuisine from the region of Galicia. However, food is not the topic of this report. What is the topic of this report is the announcement that the Spanish Myeloma Patients' Association will have its initial meeting in a short time, (you can be sure that we will announce the meeting on the IMF website as soon as the date is confirmed!) and that the IMF is assisting in the launch of a website specifically for the association. (www.asociaciondeenfermos.myeloma.org) Currently there is only a webpage, but stay tuned!

On this website, members of the association, their family members, and other interested persons will be able to familiarize themselves with association activities, access IMF's Spanish-language publications, and see the events calendar for seminars in Spain. We will have more information in the future, about this and other Spanish-speaking associations throughout the world. There will be links to the main page of the IMF's website, the IMF Latin America, and other organizations with related interests.

After our lunch meeting, Mr. Rubio gave me a lift to the airport. We promised to remain in touch as well as to ensure that this association will do its very best to increase the knowledge of patients and others about myeloma.

More news to follow!

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