This year marks the tenth anniversary of the IMF. A milestone by any account. But for me, who was there at the very beginning, it’s also bittersweet. I am extremely proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish. The support, care and hope we’ve brought to tens of thousands of patients and their families all over the world is certainly something to note. It wasn’t there for Brian and me when he was diagnosed in 1988, so I’m keenly aware of what it means to have a place to turn to.
When I was first called upon to take over the reins of the IMF, Brian had just died and the foundation was only two years old. I never let on to anyone how frightened I was. What if I couldn’t do it? What if I didn’t have the ability, or the emotional strength to carry on where Brian left off? I would lie in bed at night with the covers pulled up over my head, crying and saying to myself, "What have you gotten yourself into?" But there were two things that kept me going: one, the fact that Brian had put his heart and sole into the IMF, at times even forgoing treatment so that he could function, and two, if there was no IMF where could people go to for help?
It hasn’t always been easy but it’s always been incredibly rewarding. I think that the main reason we’ve been able to achieve so much, is that we have dedicated and caring people helping us. The staff at the IMF all have been touched by cancer, some knew Brian Novis and others either have a family member with myeloma or have lost a loved one to cancer. They are extremely dedicated and passionate about what they do. Our Board of Directors and our Scientific Advisory Board are comprised of people who are willing to give their time, talent and expertise to help us achieve our mission.
But the one thing that I think truly makes us unique is that we’ve always been like a family, a family who reaches out and helps others. Being diagnosed with myeloma is no easy thing, but knowing there are people out there who truly care about you and who are going to do their very best to help you is something money can’t buy.
As I look back at what we’ve been able to achieve, I am overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from people all over the world. We’ve made great progress. As I look forward, I‘m excited and hopeful. I know that one day soon we’ll be able to have a family reunion to celebrate the cure for myeloma and my retirement!