The setting for the evening was a Catalonian masia (a typical farmhouse of the region) called Can Travi Nou near the Vall d'Hebron Park in Barcelona. More than two hundred guests were in attendance to honor the lifelong dedication and commitment of Dr. Bladé to myeloma patients, their families, and to myeloma research.
The rain that had plagued the city all day ended just in time for the arrival of the guests, and the informal reception was held in the gardens of the masia. Dr. Bladé's lovely wife Maite, his children Joan and Esther, his mother, his brothers and their wives and many other family members joined several past honorees; colleagues and staff from the Hospital Clinic Barcelona; 50 international myeloma clinicians and researchers; the five corporate sponsors; and the International Myeloma Foundation in honoring Dr. Bladé on a very familial and enjoyable covered patio.
Dr. Jesús San Miguel presided over the event as master of ceremonies, and introduced the speakers during the course of the evening: Dr. Brian G.M. Durie and Susie Novis; Dr. Heinz Ludwig; Dr. Ciril Rozman; Dr. Robert A. Kyle; and Dr. Bladé; however, the last speech of the evening, an emotional and heartfelt message to his father, was given in Castilian Spanish, Catalonian, and English by Joan Bladé Herrero, his son. His colleagues spoke of his career, his dedication, and his meticulousness – his son spoke of the example he sets for the family. A very intimate experience that all were permitted to share.
A photo montage with musical accompaniment documenting events in Dr. Bladé's life was prepared by his friend and colleague Dr. Laura Rosiñol. For those unfamiliar with his career path and his hobbies, this was a humorous and insightful look back at his childhood, his studies, his career, his hobbies, and his family. (Did you know that Dr. Bladé is also an internationally known and respected breeder of canaries?)
Personally selected by the honoree, everything from the welcoming glass of cava (Catalonian sparkling wine) to the dessert (milk chocolate mousse in a dark chocolate shell) was delicious. Plate after plate of different varieties of tapas (appetizers) were especially well-received, and helped the international attendees adjust to the later dinner hour that is the custom in Spain.
Eventually, however, the night came to a close – although as the guests departed, everyone was in agreement that this was a night to remember. After having spent the evening as part of a family that included Dr. Bladé's own family, his friends and his colleagues, we knew that all had shared a very special experience: una nit molt catalana. (a very Catalonian night).