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REPORT FROM AMEN'S SECOND ANNIVERSARY
By Mike Katz
AMEN is the IMF’s affiliate in Israel. It has been wonderful to watch the progress that AMEN has made helping everyone battling myeloma in Israel in just two short years.
08.11.07

AMEN is the IMF’s affiliate in Israel. It has been wonderful to watch the progress that AMEN has made helping everyone battling myeloma in Israel in just two short years. It has been an honor to be involved even in a small way in this good work. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with AMEN’s Vaad, attend a local support group meeting and speak at a program for Israeli oncology nurses. So, I was thrilled to be invited to be a part of the recent second anniversary celebration. It was also wonderful to have the opportunity to visit AMEN and Israel with my colleagues, Brian Durie and Susie Novis, the chairman and president of the International Myeloma Foundation. For Susie, it was her first visit. For Brian, it was his first visit since spending a summer on a Kibbutz near Tsfat over 30 years ago.


We arrived a few days early and spent our time well touring Jerusalem and the north. Seeing the incredible history, natural beauty, the diversity of communities, and scale of development is a stark contrast to the political caricatures of Israel that we typically get in the New York Times and on CNN. On Thursday, we had the opportunity to meet with the Dr. Ben Yehuda and other members of the Department of Hematology at Hadassah Ein Kerem. Dr. Durie was able to share current developments and learn about important work being done at Ein Kerem. The doctors took the opportunity to present cases to Dr. Durie to get his perspective. Perhaps the result of divine intervention, a huge traffic jam enroute from Ein Kerem to Herzliya provided the opportunity to continue the discussion and include many morecases.


At Kibbutz Shfayim, we were so pleased to meet and speak with so many patients and their families, as well as the many doctors who came to salute AMEN. What AMEN has been able to accomplish is amazing. In patient support, developing information in four languages, setting up support groups, helping to build research collaborations and pressing the government and drug companies to make the best treatments available to patients in Israel.

Dr. Durie’s talk gave the attendees a view of the latest in myeloma treatments and the exciting developments on the horizon. As a patient, it is so encouraging to hear how much progress is being made in treating myeloma. There are new drugs availablethat are saving lives every day and more on the way.

The next morning, AMEN arranged for Dr. Durie to meet with the Israeli Myeloma Study Group to discuss current clinical trials and potential research collaborations. Then, after a relatively peaceful Shabbat on the Tel Aviv seashore, we had dinner with members of AMEN’s Vaad and then hurried off to the airport for the flight back to the US. We came. We kvelled. We learned. We thank AMEN for all that it does and hope we can continue to help in any way we can.For more information about AMEN, visit http://AMEN.org.il.


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