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The Atlanta Area Myeloma Support Groups Step Up to the Plate
By Aimee Martin
Myeloma November 2012 Advocate of the Month

This month we honor all members of the Atlanta Area Support Groups as our Advocates of November 2012 for their contribution to our Postcards for Parity Program.

In July, following a presentation on the IMF Advocacy Program, Gail McCray, co-leader for the Southside Atlanta area support group asked for 200 postcards to start Atlanta’s participation in the Postcards for Parity Program because she felt the “postcard campaign offered a straightforward, simple, and quick way to educate the group members and others, and increase participation in advocating for myeloma patients from people within their individual and group communities.”

Gail presented the program to both groups at their annual summer gathering. “All myeloma patients and caregivers know the challenges of getting a diagnosis and having to do all they can to have a high quality of life while living with myeloma. One way to do that is to be aware of unnecessary obstacles; one of which is the disparity of health care coverage for oral and IV treatments. As such, we as patients and caregivers need to know how to make our voices heard, no matter how strong or weak we believe our voices are. Many people know how devastating having a chronic disease can be on one’s finances; however, most people don’t realize how high the costs can be out-of-pocket due to inequity of health coverage.”

After explaining to folks the details of HR2746, the Cancer Drug Coverage Parity Act, and the logistics of the postcard program she urged everyone to participate. “We all have lives outside of our cancer – family, friends, religious communities and professional communities, people who care about us and will lend their voice to stand with us.”

At that event, many group members took cards to their communities and asked them to take a moment for myeloma patients by filling out the postcard; thus truly making it a community project. Throughout the months, we received multiple calls from folks who needed more postcards for church services or a family gathering because they ran out so quickly.

The AAMMSG also supported each other by sharing tips they discovered when talking to people about the postcards. In addition to personal communities, church groups, and civic and social organizations, many people found that health professionals, doctors, nurses, and social workers were very supportive of the campaign and encouraged other members to ask their clinicians.

All told the Atlanta Area Myeloma Support Groups to date have mailed in over 400 postcards. Both Atlanta Groups came together to not only help us grow our advocacy base in Georgia, but also reach 60 co-sponsors for HR2746. They certainly accomplished the first and I’m sure the second will follow as soon as legislators come back from the campaign trail in November.

With all the amazing work that has come out of Georgia this fall, the IMF Advocacy Team is excited to be hosting an Advocate Luncheon in Atlanta on Saturday, December 8th, 2012. The event will be held at the Hard Rock Café on Peachtree Street at Noon.

Please join us for an update on the current political landscape for cancer patients and learn how easy it is for YOU to make a difference. Click here to register today.

Thank you to both the Atlanta Area Support Groups for all your amazing work!

If you are not yet an IMF advocate, please sign up here

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