By Lisa Paik, Senior Vice President, Clinical Education & Research Initiatives, and Arin Assero, Vice President, Global Advocacy
On October 20, 2012, we had the honor of representing the IMF at a meeting of the Korea Blood Cancer Association (KBCA) in Seoul. Originally established in December 1995 as the Saebitnuri Association, the KBCA is officially authorized by the Ministry of Health and Welfare to provide support and services to blood cancer patients and their families. The KBCA works collaboratively with many other organizations in Korea and abroad.
The KBCA’s Board of Directors includes several distinguished hematology experts and the organization has 80 medical mentors. KBCA management and staff includes many cancer survivors and more than 100 dedicated volunteers. We had the pleasure of getting to know Mr. Tae Pyong Chang (Chairman and President of KBCA), Mr. Chul Hwan Lee (Secretary General and co-founder of KBCA), Ms. Jung Suk Park (Director of KBCA), and Ms. Jung Hee Lee (Assistant Manager of KBCA). We also met several of KBCA’s medical mentors who served as faculty for the myeloma meeting: Dr. Sung-Soo Yoon of Seoul National University Hospital, who also is Chair of the Korean Multiple Myeloma Working Party (KMMWP), Dr. Yeung-Chul Mun of Ewha Women University Medical Center (KMMWP member), and Dr. Chang-Ki Min of Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital (KMMWP member).
We would also like to extend our sincerest thanks to the esteemed Dr. Jae Hoon Lee, member of the IMF's Asian Myeloma Network and former chair of the KMMWP. Dr. Lee has worked closely with the KBCA for many years and played an integral role in ensuring the success of our trip. He was the link that brought two like-minded patient groups together to begin what we believe will be a long and successful relationship helping patients.
Like the IMF, the KBCA firmly believes that hope and information play an important role in helping patients navigate their journeys through cancer. KBCA’s patient services include medical treatment support, consultation and counseling, educational meetings and seminars, free publications, and an active website and online community. KBCA also organizes social and cultural events for blood cancer patients.
The KBCA holds approximately 40 educational meetings per year for a variety of blood cancer patients, but the meeting we attended focused solely on myeloma and took place on their annual Myeloma Patient Day. As guest speakers, we addressed an audience of 200 myeloma patients and caregivers. We talked about the IMF’s 22-year history, our mission, and our wide range of programs in the areas of Research, Education, Support, and Advocacy. We found the audience to be receptive, and the strong KBCA team to be clearly committed to putting patients’ needs first. We were very impressed with KBCA’s activities and accomplishments, and we are looking forward to increased close cooperation in the future.
Click on the Images tab above to see pictures from the event.