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Spring 2000 Volume 3, Issue 8:
From Sea To Shining Sea, IMFers Take Action
"Circle of Friends" raises over $122,000; A Community Comes Together; Support Groups Join Forces; "Trooper Benson" Is Back; Choice Courier Goes The Distance; High School Students "Go For The Green" In Support Of Principal Battling Myeloma

The Greater Los Angeles Support Group decided to become active in fund raising this past fall when support group leader Janet Johnson and her husband Art approached them with the idea. Little did anyone know that in the first four months they would raise over $122,000 for myeloma research.

It all began with an initial pledge from Janet and Art Johnson. Then others joined in and, in a matter of days, a fundraising committee was formed. They discussed a plan of action and reached a consensus. They would focus their efforts on supporting myeloma research and they would henceforth be known as the Circle of Friends. They accepted an initial challenge of raising $40,000 to fund one junior research project through the IMF. Deciding on a simple and straightforward approach, the Circle of Friends appealed to their immediate group of friends, the other members of the Los Angeles Support Group.

What a response they achieved! By December, they had already surpassed their initial goal of raising $40,000. The timeliness of having additional research funds available during the grant selection process enabled the IMF to put those dollars to work immediately by awarding an additional research grant.

The Circle of Friends’ success has been remarkable. To date, they have raised over $122,000. And, through their own very supportive network of angels, they are continuing to generate more and more myeloma research funding. This local support group’s hard work on behalf of the entire myeloma community is truly exemplary.

We are all very proud of their accomplishments!


St. John’s Preparatory School in Andover, Massachusetts, raised $2,600 for the Myeloma 200-Closer to A Cure campaign in honor of IMFer Janet Shea, the school’s head librarian. Janet had shared her myeloma diagnosis with the school and expressed the need to raise awareness of the disease and funding for myeloma research. St. John’s Student Council responded without hesitation, hosting a "Dress Down Day". Janet’s friends in the Andover community also lent their support to the fundraising campaign.


On December 11, 1999, the Los Angeles and San Diego multiple myeloma support groups held a joint holiday gala. Over 150 patients and caregivers attended the event. Guest speakers Drs. James Berenson and Robert Vescio covered a wide range of topics from the genesis of myeloma to the latest in scientific studies.

“We are lucky to have resources within our reach bringing us all together for support, education and information to help us live with myeloma,” said Janet Johnson, Chair of the Los Angeles area group. Fred Gloor, Chair of the San Diego group, agreed: “We are fortunate that Drs. Berenson, Vescio and Ma are willing to share their knowledge with our groups.”

The Los Angeles Area Multiple Myeloma Support Group’s Circle of Friends presented a research grant award to Dr. Hong Jin Mark Ma of the West Los Angeles DVA Medical Center. Dr. Ma was on hand to explain his project (see last issue of Myeloma Today for details). He thanked the Circle of Friends and the IMF for making his reaseach possible.

The holiday gala was a hit with all who attended and the two groups plan to co-host a series of guest speaker meetings throughout the year.


"Trooper Benson" (a.k.a Benson Klein) launched his second annual Letter Writing Campaign, raising over $54,000 for myeloma research. The successful campaign will fund a second research grant to be awarded this fall. We wish to extend our gratitude to Ward & Klein Chartered for their support in both campaigns. We also thank all of Trooper Benson’s Legion for their wonderful support.


Choice Courier Systems Inc., a company that provides a diverse range of transportation services throughout the Northeast Corridor, sponsored a marathon runner in a fundraising drive in honor of myeloma patient Joseph Morone, VP of Operations/New York Region.

Choice Courier launched the fundraising drive in October, matching employee contributions from all of its locations. Pledges were pooled to sponsor Gerry Daley Jr., VP of Information Systems, who ran the NYC Marathon on November 7th on behalf of Joseph Morone. In total, over $5,000 was raised for myeloma research.

Michael Katz, President/COO, reflected, "Joe is a well respected and much admired member of the Choice Courier System team. His industry knowledge, operations expertise, and commitment to excellence have made a lasting impact here. Most importantly, his steadfast determination to meet challenges head-on and not give in to adversity has set a powerful example for us all. We look forward to his return and to his continued recovery."

Mr. Daley, Jr. trained five days a week to prepare for this challenge. Thank you for running the miles for Joseph Morone and myeloma research.


Tim Scully surrounded by supporters, including Acting Principal Sid Morrison, IMF President Susie Novis, ASB President Rachel La'lea, members of North High's student government, Patty Park of Toyota Motor Sales, Craig Reese of Pepsicola Bottling Co. and others

When North High School principal Tim Scully, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, his one request for his students was that they collectively raise $1,000 for myeloma research. Tim is a "Myeloma 200-Closer to a Cure" participant. The students quickly rose to the occasion, ultimately meeting his request more than ten times over.

The genesis of their efforts: "Go for the Green," a contest sponsored by Mountain Dew and the Pepsi Cola Co. The contest challenged 86 Southern California high schools to collect and save the labels from single-serving and two-liter bottles of Mountain Dew and Diet Mountain Dew, with the winning school receiving $10,000 to spend as it chose.

For the students of North High School in Torrance, California, the answer was simple – win the contest and donate the money to the International Myeloma Foundation in honor of Principal Scully. Acting out of love and support for their

principal, the dedicated Saxons of North High enjoyed an inspiring lead from day one, collecting more than 14,480 labels and making them the overwhelming winners.

Their successful efforts were celebrated on January 19th during an emotional tribute to Principal Scully. Arriving in style in a black limousine, Tim Scully stepped onto the football field, waving and smiling in admiration at his students. In return, the crowd went wild. They jumped up to cheer, some clapped and cried and the entire group announced their excitement with the unanimous chanting of, "Scul-ly, Scul-ly, Scul-ly." It was an inspirational tribute.

"Today I celebrate some great heroes," Scully said as he looked into the smiling faces of his students and the staff of North High, many of whom had not seen Scully since he departed the campus last spring on a medical leave. "You’ve done something very special to help others. You’ve become heroes to me and my wife."

The celebration began with the playful sounds of the North High #10 Tin Can Band, a round of daytime fireworks and opening remarks from the student body’s Commissioner of Spirit, Jackie Covas and acting principal, Sid Morrison. Following the introduction of the event’s special guests, Pepsi Cola representatives presented Rachel Lele’a, North High’s Associated Student Body President with the grand prize check for $10,000. Lele’a graciously accepted the money on behalf of her fellow students and the North High faculty and staff. "We are the best in Southern California because we worked as a class, as a school and as a community. We did it with everyone’s help," Lele’a said.

And then, just as they had pledged from the beginning, the school donated the money to the International Myeloma Foundation, presenting an oversized check to IMF President Susie Novis.

But there would be additional grounds for celebration. Toyota Motor Sales, USA, North High’s adopt-a-school sponsor, decided to surprise the students with an additional $5,000 contribution to the IMF upon hearing about the students’ selflessness . Driving onto the football field in a rarely-before seen e*com, Toyota’s environmentally-friendly, battery-electric concept car, the additional money was presented by Toyota’s Community Relations Administrator and North High alumnus, Patty Park.

Topping things off, the local Rotary Club added $400 and the faculty and staff of North High personally chipped in with $232. In total, $15,632 was donated to the IMF to fund myeloma research in the name of Principal Scully.

"We always hear about kids who are doing destructive things," Novis said. "It’s refreshing to see kids who are rallying around their principal and working together to make a difference. Their efforts have put the IMF one step closer to our goal of raising $2 million for myeloma research in the year 2000 and we are proud to have them on our team."

The day was of interest not only to the students and friends of North High and the IMF, but for local media as well. Four major networks were in attendance with KCAL-TV broadcasting the event live during its noon news broadcast. In addition, several area newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, reported on the event with many papers running full page stories the following day. The media attention not only served as an exciting reward to the students for their efforts and success, but also helped raise awareness of myeloma and the IMF.

Since the celebration, Scully has undergone a second bone marrow transplant at the City of Hope and is doing well and feeling stronger everyday. He hopes to return to the halls of North High as acting principal in September.

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