The IMF support group leaders ended ASH together late Monday evening gathered together to watch and share the IMWG conference debate between four of the world's myeloma leaders. Robin did her usual amazing job of organizing the logistics and we didn't even have to leave our hotel. The evening was a perfect ending and cemented the camaraderie which we had developed over four days. Our final hugs were warm and meaningful.
I have read the blogs of the other attendees and agree with all of their superlatives. In their own way, each one told of what they witnessed at ASH and emphasized the promise of new treatments for myeloma. It is interesting how we could all observe the same oral presentation or poster and remember different aspects of it. Reading all the blogs gives a bigger picture of the elephant and the picture is promising. Myeloma is under serious attack and this horrible cancer WILL be cured. This Grampy is not a tweeter, but I certainly learned the power of social networking. Thanks to Yelak, Cindy, Robin, and others for getting the message out in a way which is new to me.
I have had the privilege of attending other annual ASH meetings so have some perspective on the event as a whole. The most noticeable change this year is the huge interest in each and every myeloma session. We SGLs knew it was important to arrive early because many events would be standing room only. The interest in our particular cancer has never been higher. The more minds focused on combating this scourge the better. The more approaches attempted the better. There were nearly 500 posters on myeloma this year, and some of the targets discovered and drugs in early phase studies are especially exciting. We don't care if a great new treatment comes from Germany, Australia, France, Houston, Rochester, or Timbuktu.
Thank you so much IMF for all you do for so many of us. How dismal and dark our short futures would be without your leadership. Cindy expressed her fear and tears quite well in her blog, and explained how those fears were turned into hope when she arrived at her first support group meeting. We can all relate to that and have "been there, done that." On a more personal note, thank you Susie for the foresight in bringing a few SGLs to ASH. Sharing what we know and what we have learned is empowering both to us and to those we help. Lets all keep working together to extend lives and improve their quality.