The who’s who in the myeloma world

| Robin Tuohy

The support group leaders all arrived safely here in San Diego for #ASH16. We’ve already had two full days of programs that I’ll provide you a summary of to date.

Support Group Leaders arrive at the San Diego Convention Center for #ASH16.

Support Group Leaders arrive at the San Diego Convention Center for #ASH16.

Friday, December 2

Leaders attended a Breakfast Orientation with an overview of each day’s schedule of events.  We then attended the IMF’s Satellite Symposium on “Treatment Advances in Myeloma: Expert Perspectives on Translating Clinical Data to Practice.” It has always been one of my favorite events at ASH as it serves as a kick off to get us primed for all the Oral Abstracts being presented. The room was packed with about 1000 people; all there because they are somehow involved and care about myeloma. Listen to recorded livestream of this program HERE.

Saturday, December 3 – Busy day!

Best way to start off your morning? Attend an IMF International Myeloma Working Group breakfast meeting to hear all they are working on! 

The room was like a who’s who in Hollywood, but in our myeloma world! It was amazing to be a “fly on the wall” to listen in to learn more about all the amazing work this group does. They welcomed in new members, discussed the manuscripts that were published in 2016 and new working group projects that members could sign up to be involved in.


We sat in on Education and Scientific Programs, but a most inspirational lunch program blew my socks off. Celgene invited the leaders to attend: “Nurturing Excellence: Unleashing your Organization’s Full Potential” with special guest speaker, Erik Wahl who is internationally recognized graffiti artist & #1 bestselling author. So why such an artist at a myeloma program?  Well, it’s all about being creative and getting us to UN-THINK. Here are some quotes that struck me which I quickly jotted down. I hope they give you something to ponder:

by @ErikWahl

  • Be Dreamers that Do
  • Be Engaged with those spaces between the notes
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s what we do with that failure that predicts our success
  • Question:  What’s your definition of failure? If our definition of failure has been trapped, then we will shield ourselves from perceived risk.
  • Great players skate where the puck is going: how can we create the future to where we want it to go?
  • How do we disrupt data and engage people?
  • How do we open up emotional intelligence? When diagnosed with cancer we are disrupted, life stops. Disruption can either open up or close us.
  • Use that disruption not as a death sentence, but as a life sentence. A starting point for breakthroughs.

Erik’s inspirational talk was accompanied by his unique style of drawing with music blasting.  Here are pix of his creations:

I’m on a short break now but in 15 minutes will leave for the IMF’s Media and Grant Reception.  Stay tuned for details on that tomorrow!

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Jack Aiello

Diagnosed with myeloma in 1995, Jack is strong proponent of patients participating in clinical trials so that, in the future, myeloma and other cancers will be known as curable diseases. He is a proud facilitator of the San Francisco Bay Area Myeloma Support Group.

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