We took Myeloma Awareness Month seriously. Alma Robinson volunteered to lead and coordinate our activities.
We were able to get proclamations from several cities and counties in metropolitan Atlanta (see pictures below).
At the Council meetings, less than five people at any of the meetings had heard of MM – many confuse it with melanoma. One of the Atlanta City Council members, Ivory Lee Young, announced that he had been diagnosed with MM, and another, Keisha Lance Bottoms, shared that her grandmother had died from MM. Georgia CORE (Center for Oncology Research and Education) carried an article of information in its March newsletter – www.georgiacancerinfo.org.
Vena coordinated our participation in a Health Fair at Greenbriar Mall, wher ewe identified at least three persons with MM. We handed out dozens of wrist bands and pins as we informed people about this cancer.
On the last day of March, we were able to fulfill the unfinished work of Rev. Arthur Lewis, and meet with the interdenominational group of Concerned Black Clergy, to urge them to share this important information with their congregations.
Georgia became the 30th state on March 26th, to pass some kind of legislation on oral parity for cancer drugs. We passed the bill with a cap of $200. This was more than the more desirable cap of $100, which we will work for in the coming year. It was a difficult journey because most cancer organizations (LLS, IMF, ACS) opposed the bill. The lobbyist for GASCO (Georgia Society for Clinical Oncologists) recommended that we support this bill and get some relief for patients paying hundreds or thousands of dollars for their medications as soon as possible. The bill takes effect in January 2015.
In the IMF-led postcard campaign for oral parity, Georgia had the highest number of postcards completed over any other state. Though we did not use the postcards this time (because IMF wanted to wait for a more appropriate time), we can use the cards for federal level oral parity support. Thanks to many individuals who solicited friends and family, churches, community organizations, and organizations like Delta Sigma Theta (East Point), GASCO, and the Cancer Patient Navigators of Georgia (CPNG), we showed the commitment of Georgia to cancer control.