By Midori Horinouchi
The IMF’s Tokyo branch, IMF Japan (a.k.a. The Myeloma Patients Association of Japan) was founded by Mr. Akira Horinouchi in October 1997. The branch started with just a few participants but, by May 2005, we had grown to include one thousand members. Currently, our medical support team consists of 63 doctors. The major activities of IMF Japan are:
- Operation and maintenance of our mailing list, utilized by IMF-Japan members to exchange vital information
- Disseminating Japanese translations of the latest myeloma medical news via our website http://myeloma.gr.jp/
- Assisting patients who wish to obtain a second opinion
- Publication of the Japanese-language myeloma handbook, available free-of-charge
- Hosting annual Myeloma Patient & Seminar
- Holding annual General Meeting—the 2004 meeting was attended by about three hundred people
- Annual award of a myeloma research grant, created in memory of Aki Horinouchi—this year’s grant was awarded to Dr. Yutaka Hattori of the Keio University Hospital for his research on molecular targeting and gene-therapy of angiogenic growth factors for the treatment of refractory multiple myeloma
- Lobbying the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare for early approval of myeloma treatment drugs such as thalidomide and bortezomib.
All IMF Japan activities are funded by donations and are made possible through the efforts of patients, family members, and other volunteers. Our slogans are: “Information can save your life! Have hope! And never give up!” It is an honor for us to be able to work with the IMF because, Until There is a Cure... There is the IMF.
By Christine Battistini
The newest branch of the International Myeloma Foundation is located in São Paulo, Brazil. IMF Latin America was founded in September 2004. The office currently serves all of Latin America.
I was motivated to reach out to the Latin multiple myeloma community by my experience as a caregiver. My mother, Maria Helena Telles, was diagnosed with myeloma in 1997. She fought a courageous and inspiring battle with her disease until her recent passing. From the time my mother’s diagnosis was confirmed, the IMF was our source of information and support.
IMF Latin America is growing fast. Patients, caregivers, and physicians in all parts of Latin America are eager to have access to the latest information about myeloma. Our website www.myeloma.org.br provides a variety of educational materials in Portuguese and will soon be offering information in Spanish, too.
We are excited to be able to host a Latin American Clinical Conference and our first IMF Patient & Family Seminar in July, with both meetings being attended by IMF’s Susie Novis and Dr. Brian G.M. Durie.
Our mission is to increase the awareness of multiple myeloma in Latin America, bring the medical community the information necessary to enable early diagnosis, and offer the many invaluable IMF programs and services to the Latin American myeloma community.
We are honored to be part of the truly International Myeloma Foundation family and we strongly believe in Brian Novis’ words: One person can make a difference. Two can make a miracle.