CURE Honors Eight Individuals and One Organization for Support of Those With Multiple Myeloma
In keynote speech, TV and movie actress Marlee Matlin urges resilience.
PUBLISHED: MARCH 19, 2016
In her keynote speech, TV and movie actress Marlee Matlin (second from left) spoke about her father's diagnosis with multiple myeloma, dealing with adversity by cultivating a good sense of humor, and more.
Actress Marlee Matlin’s dad taught her to have that kind of strength in the face of challenges, and then he embodied the philosophy himself after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the Academy Award winner told an audience of patients with the disease, their loved ones, patient advocates and health professionals during CURE magazine’s inaugural Multiple Myeloma Heroes Awards in Miami March 18. The event, which honored eight people for making heroic contributions in support of those with myeloma, took place during the 20th Annual International Congress on Hematologic Malignancies: Focus on Leukemias, Lymphomas, and Myeloma, hosted by Physicians Education Resource.
Matlin won the Academy Award at age 21 for her leading role in the movie “Children of a Lesser God,” and has appeared in television shows including “Seinfeld,” “The West Wing,” “The L Word,” “Switched at Birth,” “Picket Fences” and “Dancing with the Stars.”
As a child who lost her hearing at age 18 months, Matlin received a tremendous amount of support from her parents and siblings, who taught her to deal with adversity by never taking no for an answer and by cultivating a good sense of humor. They lived those ideals, first by rejecting a doctor’s suggestion to send Matlin away to a school for the deaf, and later by creating stories that made her feel comfortable with being different – she had an “accent,” her brother told children who asked, because their parents were foreign spies.
When her father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2003, he lived by the same principles, Matlin recalled.
“He lived his life and (the cancer) was just part of who he was. He did not let it define him. He got up every day and proved everyone wrong,” she said. “He lost his 10-year struggle, but his life lessons are in me, just as they are for the heroes here tonight who will never take no for an answer.”
Four of the people honored during the event — a doctor, a nurse, the founder of a website and a patient advocate — made their contributions individually, and four did so together, as part of a group that climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for multiple myeloma research. In addition, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was given a special award for making a difference in the lives of people with the disease.
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The way that newly diagnosed patients with multiple myeloma is treated has changed significantly over recent years, especially as new drugs moved into the treatment realm for the disease, says Shaji K. Kumar, M.D.
Several questions still remain regarding the treatment strategies for elderly patients with multiple myeloma, many of whom may have other comorbidities or trouble tolerating therapies.
Patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma should be given individualized treatment approaches guided by the biology of their disease, frailty of the patient and other comorbidities, said Natalie S. Callander, M.D., who presented on the topic at the NCCN 12th Annual Congress: Hematologic Malignancies in San Francisco, California.
A team of patients, researchers, advocates and loved ones climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain, to raise money for multiple myeloma awareness and research, benefitting the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
This year, a group of patients, advocates and health care professionals will tackle Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness for multiple myeloma.
Charles (Chuck) Wakefield, a multiple myeloma survivor and climber of the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma Mount Kilimanjaro climb, discusses the importance of staying active and how he trained for the climb.