Denise Vidot with her father, Richard Vidot
During the summer of 2004, my father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Myeloma? I had never heard of this disease. And I was not alone. Most people, it seems, have never heard of this little-known cancer. I knew that I needed to do something to change that. If so few people know about this disease, how does one expect to raise money for research to find better treatments or, better yet, a cure?! I was determined to find a way to promote myeloma awareness.
I am a Sophomore at the University of Miami, on the Pre-Med track, working towards a double major in chemistry and French, and a minor in Biology. I hope to become a rheumatologist. In the Spring of 2004, I joined Lambda Theta Alpha Latin Sorority Inc., a Beta Sigma Chapter, for which I now serve as vice president and treasurer. In part, our mission is “to develop strong Leaders who will then provide and practice political, social, and cultural activities.” I knew that I could count on my sisters to help make the myeloma awareness and fundraising project a success. I also contacted Suzanne Battaglia of the IMF and requested the Foundation’s assistance.
I organized events at Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, and Nova Southeastern University. Knowing how hectic campus life is, and how something as basic as food can become an issue, I decided to use the students’ busy lifestyle to my advantage. I sold beef patties, a very popular convenience food item. Along with the patties, educational flyers about myeloma were distributed.
Sorority sisters nationwide responded to my awareness project. Together, we reached out to students and faculty. On my campus, a professor who is a myeloma patient thanked us for our efforts and said, “I feel a little better knowing that I am not alone.”
Besides raising awareness and funds for research, I learned a lot about what to do (and what not to do!) to make fundraising successful. As a result, I plan to hold future events to benefit myeloma research and awareness. Currently, I am organizing a myeloma walk-a-thon that will take place in the fall.