Mount Fuji2017


Liz Lewis

A Personal Pursuit

June 8, 2017

When I was a child, I used to accompany my father on his Saturday morning rounds at the hospital. He was a physician and for me it was a treat to spend time with him and watch how he cared for his patients. Little did I know then how formative this experience would be and that I would work in an industry dedicated to patients.

As Head of Patient Advocacy for Takeda Oncology, I have had the opportunity to spend time with many individuals afflicted with cancer and have developed a better understanding of their journey with this insidious disease and how their voice can be incorporated into the development of new medicines. Cancer not only affects the patient, but also their family, caregivers, medical teams and the multitudes of researchers and staff who work at companies like Takeda who are trying to develop and provide better outcomes for patients. Cancer is indiscriminate and unfortunately most of us now have a personal connection to the disease.

Climbing a mountain has become a familiar metaphor for the journey cancer patients experience—it’s difficult, mostly unpredictable and consists of thousands of small steps toward an ultimate goal. So when I was asked to climb Mt. Fuji as part of the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program to raise awareness and research funds for this blood cancer, I couldn’t think of a single reason not to participate; although intellectually, I suppose there were a few, as I’ve never climbed a mountain as high as Mt. Fuji before!

Humor aside, this expedition is the perfect opportunity for me to walk step by step with patients and caregivers in solidarity against cancer. I recently hiked the 3,165 ft. practice climb up Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire with “Team Fuji” and I was inspired by all the members of Team Fuji. It will be an honor to climb with them. Now having this practice climb under my belt, I’m one step closer toward conquering a mountain that is four times higher and continuing this journey—bring it on!