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Summer 2005 Volume 6, Issue 5:
Education, Advocacy, and Awareness:
Chicago IMF Patient & Family Seminar
By Kathy Cartwright
The seminar inspired me so much that starting a myeloma support group in my area is now one of my top priorities. With newly found hope, education, and knowledge of the IMF's passion for finding a cure, we feel more in control of our situation.
08.30.05

Wow, what a weekend! My husband, Jeff, and I attended the IMF Patient & Family Seminar held June 10th and 11th in Chicago, Illinois. My family and I have been living with multiple myeloma for over 4 years. I was diagnosed at the age of 39 years. My husband and children, Mary Kate (now 16) and Chris (now 14) know all about dealing with myeloma.

The Chicago seminar was the first IMF educational meeting that we’ve experienced. I promise it won't be our last! Our weekend started on Friday when we attended the “Quality of Life” session. In the evening, we enjoyed cocktails and dinner hosted by the IMF, where we had the opportunity to meet other myeloma patients and caregivers. It was good to hear their stories, and learn about their personal challenges and triumphs in dealing with their disease.

Saturday was a day with a very full itinerary. After a great breakfast, we headed to the meeting room, where we listened to an excellent faculty of myeloma experts presenting the latest infor-mation on myeloma disease and treatment options. We took ample notes about a wide range of therapy options, bone disease, transplantation, and research. By the end of the seminar, we had learned a lot and had met more wonderful people. I believe that everyone walked away from the seminar with something. I know that we surely did. This whole experience left us truly excited and filled with hope!

Once home, we called my folks and shared our experience with them. My mother said that she would love to attend an IMF Patient & Family Seminar in the St. Charles/St. Louis area, so we hope that the IMF comes to our area soon! I also spoke to other family members, some of my local “myeloma friends,” and a friend in Ohio whom I met 3 years ago while we were both harvesting our stem cells. I wanted to share our experience and what we had learned.

On Tuesday following the seminar, I had an appointment with my doctor. With all the information we gathered at the IMF seminar still so fresh in our minds, we had a lot of questions. My doctor was pleased to hear that we had attended the IMF event and was happy to answer our questions and explain how the information we learned might pertain to my case.

The seminar inspired me so much that starting a myeloma support group in my area is now one of my top priorities. With newly found hope, education, and knowledge of the IMF's passion for finding a cure, we feel more in control of our situation. We would encourage all patients, caregivers, family members, and friends to attend at least one IMF seminar. They will be hooked!

To learn more about upcoming IMF Patient & Family Seminars, visit the Patient & Family Seminars page of the IMF website or call 800-452-CURE (2873).


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