Researching and Racing for a Blood Cancer Cure

Researching and Racing for a Blood Cancer Cure

04.22.13 | By Josephine Martin

A passion to help others. Above all else, this is the prevailing quality inherent in the biopharmaceutical sector and in partners throughout the health care field. We help people live longer, better lives. We see it every day in the work we do and the people with whom we interact. This week, PhRMA is excited to be a part of two activities that epitomize this galvanizing mindset.

On Thursday, we will be releasing the latest report in our Medicines in Development series, focused on blood cancers.

According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma approximately every four minutes. And the American Cancer Society estimates that each year nearly 150,000 Americans are diagnosed with a blood cancer – accounting for about 9 percent of all new cancer cases.

The blood cancer medicines in the pipeline represent more than just numbers. They reflect the expertise, ingenuity and determination (aka passion) of thousands of individuals in the biopharmaceutical ecosystem - company scientists, academic researchers, clinician trial volunteers and more. And they represent real hope for future patients battling leukemia, lymphoma and other types of blood cancers.

Secondly, this coming Sunday a group of roughly 60 PhRMA colleagues will be participating in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC in support of the Leukemia & lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program. About half of Team PhRMA will be running or walking in the event, and the other half will be providing encouragement and hydration to all the runners and walkers at the PhRMA water stop.

I am captain of the PhRMA team and this is personal for me. A close friend of mine, my godson’s father, died of multiple myeloma. I am running in his memory and for those who did not live long enough to see the promise of a generation of medicines that are transforming the way people with blood cancers live.

When PhRMA decided to participate in this event, we set a lofty goal of raising $100,000 to establish a new grant for blood cancer research. Over the past few months, members of Team PhRMA worked hard to fundraise and train. It has been a huge challenge, but so rewarding in the process.

Colleagues dedicated their time and effort for many reasons – some, like me, very personally tied to blood cancers, and others generally motivated to help make a difference. The result has been a strong sense of camaraderie, which soon will be coupled with satisfaction and accomplishment. As team captain, I take great pride in the selfless energy and passion demonstrated by my colleagues.

We will be posting materials throughout the week related to both our Medicines in Development report and the upcoming race. In the meantime, please visit our Team PhRMA webpage to see how close we are to meeting our $100,000 goal.

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