Our sixteen year old granddaughter, Sydney, asked me if I could come to her school and talk about Multiple Myeloma. She then told me that she was using her grandfather (she calls him "Papaw") and his disease as her "project", and she was using my blog as reference.
I asked her "Do you read the blog?" And her response was "All the time." That surprised me, I guess I never thought that the grandkids would read the blog. I'm not sure that I would have been so interested, at her age. Teenagers always seem to be in their own world, and involved with themselves. I asked why she was doing her project on MM, and her reply was "Because I want to know about this disease that Papaw has".
Last night while I was on Facebook, as she and I were "chatting", she asked "Granny, did you know that Sam Walton had Multiple Myeloma?" And then, she shared some other names of celebrities that had had this disease. The things we might learn if we'd listen to the kids!
She started me thinking, and I started doing some research on "famous" people with MM. I'm not sure why I hadn't thought to do it earlier. Again, the things we learn from the kids!
Not that it really mattered, cancer knows no boundaries; nor does it care about status. Cancer does not care if you're rich or poor......cancer does not care.
As I researched, I read an article that the Senior VP of the Orlando Magic Basketball team, Pat Williams, has recently been diagnosed with MM. This cancer, which has been considered one of the "rare" blood cancers seems to get more attention when "famous" or "popular" people have it. Multiple Myeloma needs attention and awareness, because it needs a cure.
Geraldine Ferraro, 1984 VP candidate, has been living with MM for 12 years, and has helped to put a "face" to this disease.
Peter Boyle, the grumpy father on "Everybody Loves Raymond" - had MM
Eppie Lederer (Ann Landers) - had MM
Jim Davis, played Jock Ewing on "Dallas" - had MM
Roy Schneider - Actor on "Jaws" - had MM
Multiple Myeloma has no regard for age. It was once a cancer of the elderly; people over 65, specifically males. That seems no longer to be the case since younger patients are now being diagnosed, both male and female. During my searching, I located the blog of a young man who was diagnosed with MM, in 2009, when he was just 17! They get younger and younger.
The cause of Multiple Myeloma is unknown. Articles indicate that it is probably caused by herbicides, pesticides, petroleum based products, chemicals, wood dust, and the list probably goes on and on. My husband's oncologist stated that most of the cases, in Mississippi, are found in the Mississippi Delta; an area where chemicals are used in massive amounts. As a friend said, "While those planes were poisioning the cotton, they were also poisioning us."
The founder of WalMart, actors, a candidate for Vice President, a 17 year old, my husband - what is it that they, and everyone else, has in common? Before a cure can be found, maybe the reason should be found!
Thank you, dear Sydney, for making me look further!