When you read something, particularly a blog, we think it can be helpful to know something about the authors and their purpose for writing. Although we have been writing blogs for the MMRF for several years, now that we have moved to a new platform we think it might be helpful to introduce ourselves to those who may not be familiar with us.
So, who are we?
Deb is a retired elementary school teacher and I am a retired elementary school principal. We share many interests such as gardening, photography, traveling, theater, and music. I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma ten years ago. I have been through radiation, chemo, an autologous stem cell transplant, and maintenance medication. I am currently in remission.
Shortly after my diagnosis, we became aware of the MMRF and were amazed by the incredible work they do. We quickly recognized that the treatments that put my myeloma in remission came about, in large part, from research supported by the MMRF. Wanting to do our part to support their efforts, in 2010 we formed a walk team and participated in the MMRF Team for Cures 5K walk/run in Boston. Over the ensuing years our team has continued to grow, and we are proud to have been joined by several other patients and caregivers.
Over the years we have participated in many MMRF sponsored activities, such as their teleconferences, webinars, and patient summits. We found that we loved all aspects of our involvement with the MMRF, not only because we have helped to raise necessary funds for research, but also because it has given us the opportunity to meet and interact with other patients, caregivers and their friends and families. Along our journey, we have met inspirational people who have become treasured friends. Among those people are the staff members of the MMRF who coordinate their activities.
We also started to volunteer at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston where we are now involved in several programs that provide support and services to patients and their families. Our volunteer work has been most rewarding, and it is now the major focus of our lives. We are happiest when we are helping other patients and caregivers.
Although we volunteer in many facets of the cancer community, several years ago we decided that we needed to do more to help the MMRF. So, we casually mentioned to Jenny Pettit Woodis, our main contact at the MMRF at that time, that we would like to become more involved in supporting the organization. If you know Jenny, you can envision that incredible smile and actually see the wheels turning in her head thinking about a variety of possibilities.
Jenny wasted no time in getting back to us. She suggested we could contribute by becoming members of a patient and caregiver panel the MMRF was forming. In that capacity she asked us to write monthly blogs. I have some writing experience and liked the idea. Deb, on the other hand, equated it to having a root canal without Novocain. There are numerous people in the world who we can say no to, but Jenny is definitely not one of them. Before we knew it, despite Deb’s reservations, we were bloggers.
We started writing blogs for the CoMMunity Gateway. Our ideas were flexible and took on many topics. I wrote from the patient’s point of view and Deb wrote from the caregiver’s perspective. Sometimes, we wrote together. In our first few blogs we chronicled our journey from the beginning. We shared what we have been through from my initial diagnosis in the hope that this would help those who are beginning their journeys. We also shared setbacks and obstacles. Fortunately, however, most of what we shared was our success and hope. Our readers have been kind and their comments have inspired us to continue.
So, as the MMRF moves the CoMMunity Gateway to a Facebook platform we will continue with our blogs. Recognizing that the Facebook community may have many new participants who have never seen our blogs, initially we intend to revisit and revise some of our older blogs and post them here. Then we will tackle some new topics. Our goal is to help and inspire others.
We invite your feedback. Let us know what you find helpful and suggest topics you’d like us to address. We invite you to comment on our posts and share your own experiences with us. Let’s start a conversation and keep it going.
Life is good. Don’t stop believing.
Allan & Deb Osborne