The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is harnessing the power of multiple myeloma patients, their families, and the community at large to raise awareness of the blood cancer during Myeloma Action Month (MAM), starting March 1, 2020. The organization commemorates its 30-year anniversary this year. In the words of one of its co-founders, Brian D. Novis, “One person can make a difference; two can make a miracle.” With this sentiment in mind, the IMF’s hope is to bring together members of the myeloma community and beyond to focus on the theme of resilience, or the capacity to adapt to challenges. The IMF sees that those in the myeloma community are resilient on a daily basis, and also recognizes that people do not need to feel resilient all the time.
During its 13th Annual Comedy Celebration in October 2019, the IMF showcased an art display known as the “Wall of Resilience.” Susan Dunnett, PhD, and Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh (Scotland) conceived and curated the art display. This visual exploration of personal resilience featured photographs from 100 IMF-affiliated myeloma support group leaders. Each photograph was paired with stories that explained how these images represented resilience to the leaders.
Now, the IMF is expanding this art display to the digital landscape. The IMF is asking individuals and groups to spread myeloma awareness on a global scale by using the hashtag #IAMRESILIENT2020 on all social media channels. When using this hashtag on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, these #IAMRESILIENT2020 posts will stream to the IMF’s digital “Wall of Resilience” at the Myeloma Action Month website http://mam.myeloma.org.
The Myeloma Action Month website also houses shareable graphics that participants can post on their social media channels. Additionally, available on the website are signature “I Am Resilient” and Myeloma Warrior-branded merchandise, including T-shirts, pins, sweatshirts, coffee mugs, wristbands, and hats. The IMF invites everyone to take selfies dressed in these colorful items and post them to their social media channels. Even the simplest action to raise myeloma awareness goes a long way.
Susie Durie, President and CEO of the IMF said, “This year is a big milestone for the IMF – it’s our 30th anniversary! I remember when the IMF was conceived. My late husband Brian Novis looked at me and said, ‘Susie, one person can make a difference, but two people can make a miracle.’ Each and every member of the myeloma community and the International Myeloma Foundation make an impact. That’s why in 2020 the IMF is focusing on resilience. So many myeloma patients, their family members, and caregivers face each day with strength and hope to help bring us closer to a cure. It used to be that a cure for myeloma was a dream somewhere far, far in the distance. But as I look forward now, I can see it. And I hope you can too.”
How can you get involved this Myeloma Action Month?
- Download this letter from IMF Chairman Dr. Brian G.M. Durie, personalize it, and send it to a health-care practitioner in the local community. The letter spells out potential myeloma symptoms and red flags and can be used to educate health care providers who may not be as familiar with the disease.
- Use the hashtag #IAMRESILIENT2020 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Share a photo with a caption that describes how that photo represents resilience to you.
- Change your Facebook image and Twitter image to a MAM logo.
- Get Myeloma Action Month merchandise and take a selfie with it and post to social media.
- Find a support group at https://www.myeloma.org/support-groups or start a support group in your local area by contacting Robin Tuohy, the IMF’s Senior Director of Support Groups.
- Contribute a public service announcement (PSA) to a local radio station.
- Write an article for your local newspaper about myeloma.
- Attend the IMF Patient & Family Seminar in Boca Raton, Florida, from March 13–14, 2020.
- Attend the IMF Regional Community Workshop in Birmingham, Alabama on March 21, 2020.
- For those in a support group, work together with your group to contribute to the “Wall of Resilience” project. Encourage the support group as a team or its individual members to share photos and captions about resilience via social media.
The IMF is especially thankful to our Resilience Platinum partners Amgen, Janssen, Karyopharm, and Sanofi, as well as our Silver Resilience partners Bristol-Myers Squibb and Takeda Oncology, for helping to make Myeloma Action Month a success. The IMF also thanks the Binding Site for their support. To learn about more opportunities to take action, please visit IMF’s Myeloma Action Month website.