A New Career in Helping Others With Myeloma

Advocacy Groups | <b>Leukemia & Lymphoma Society</b>

A cancer diagnosis impacts people in different ways. For Bryon Daily, his recovery from chemotherapy followed by an autologous stem cell transplant due to a myeloma diagnosis in early 2018 led him to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and opportunities that would allow him to help those facing the same diagnosis and to help educate and empower Black communities about the disease.

Daily learned about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society from his medical team. He called and spoke with one of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s information specialists, who provided him with support and information about resources and services related to his situation and type of blood cancer. This initial interaction would lead Daily to a long-standing, dedicated and evolving relationship with the largest nonprofit dedicated to creating a world without blood cancer.

During his treatment, Daily noticed that other patients weren’t receiving the same level of support he was throughout his journey. After his recovery from treatment and his transplant, Daily, who was inspired by the support he received from his family and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, jumped at the chance to become a community outreach volunteer with the Myeloma Link program in his hometown of Atlanta, where the program was piloted. As a volunteer, he lent his time and support in many ways, including staffing in-person fundraising and awareness events, connecting with other patients with blood cancer to share experience and lend support, heightening awareness of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Myeloma Link initiative, and making key community connections to expand outreach efforts in Black communities. The more Daily got involved, he says his commitment to helping patients with blood cancer, their families and caregivers grew deeper, which gave him an opportunity to appreciate his own recovery, help others and give back.

In 2021, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was seeking someone to join its staff as a national community outreach manager for Myeloma Link. Daily quickly assumed the position and, in this role, his daily job is to oversee and support local outreach managers and develop strategies to educate and empower the Black community with vital information about blood cancers, including myeloma, as the incidence of this type of cancer is at least double in this community compared with any other race or ethnicity. Myeloma Link helps connect Black patients and their caregivers to trusted free information and expert counseling, facilitating access to care and the latest treatments. This Leukemia & Lymphoma Society initiative is presently active in the following 16 cities with substantial Black populations: Atlanta, Baltimore, Birmingham, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Jacksonville, Newark, New York City/Bronx, Oakland, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C.

Reaching this audience is personal for Daily, as his hope is that if they ever face an unimaginable cancer diagnosis, they are better prepared with knowledge that can help them navigate their care and potentially lead to better health outcomes.

Aside from working closely with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Patient and Community Outreach team to help them develop their relationships in local communities, Daily is still able to connect with patients with blood cancer and their families and caregivers. He has also become a strong advocate for innovative ideas to improve the way underserved communities are supported and served. He often shares his story internally with staff and externally at events, as well as through media opportunities to help create awareness, with the hope of connecting more patients who might not know about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its support, resources and services.

When Daily joined The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s staff, the organization was still largely operating virtually. As restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic began to lift, he wanted to ensure The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society could reach critical community members where they live. Daily is in the process of implementing sponsored chess tournaments, where he and other Leukemia & Lymphoma Society staff and volunteers can reach the community on the ground and give them information about health concerns, such as myeloma and other prevalent diseases. He came up with this idea, as chess is often played in barbershops within the Black community, which are trusted gathering places, and thinks it will be a great way to reach the community.

Daily has said his role with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Myeloma Link specifically gives him purpose and has helped him cope with his own diagnosis by giving back to the cancer and Black communities. “A lot of people don’t even know what myeloma is until they get diagnosed,” he said. “It’s often confused with melanoma.”

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