Scott Campbell
Scott Campbell

My Awakening
Thursday, April 27
The trails along the Grand Canyon are some of the most familiar and well-worn paths in the world. For decades, millions of people from all over the world have gathered at this iconic and historic U.S. landmark to experience the majesty of the Grand Canyon, but for me the Canyon and what I am about to undergo is brand new.

In my role as Associate Director, Patient Advocacy, for Takeda Pharmaceuticals my days are filled with constant interaction among patients with multiple myeloma and related patient advocacy groups. Phone calls, emails, texts, teleconferences and brief gatherings at annual medical conferences are the normal tools of our communication; and it’s within this environment that I have this marvelous privilege to speak and work with people whose lives are impacted by myeloma and committed to making that experience better for patients, family and caregivers. It can’t be compared to what I will experience next month; however, as I leave the comfy confines of my office in Cambridge and prepare to join a heroic team of climbers — that will include patients with myeloma — who will walk the trails of this landmark to benefit multiple myeloma research.  

There’s something eye-opening about sharing a physical challenge with someone that allows you to really get to know that person beyond an occasional phone conversation or text message and see for a brief moment beyond their illness. Maybe a glimpse into their true self and their personal struggles. This climb will give me that chance to experience an incredible challenge together and hopefully become more committed to helping find a cure for multiple myeloma. These events that serve as platforms from which to raise important research dollars and disease awareness for myeloma are necessary, yet complicated. Those of us who participate — especially patients who live daily with the challenges of cancer — do so to acknowledge the lives that are lived in the shadow of this disease as well as honor loved ones currently living with myeloma or those who have lost their battle. Each climber has a story and it’s those heartfelt and very personal narratives that I am interested in hearing. Living with multiple myeloma adds a dimension to a person’s life that I can never fully understand despite the closeness to patients that my job allows. Spending time on the dusty Canyon trail in punishing heat, encouraging each other to walk through the adversity we are all bound to experience and supporting my fellow trekkers until we reach the end of the walk.

I imagine the stories that each climber shares along the trail reverberating off the Canyon walls and guiding us through this incredible trek. There is such strength in these stories and I will call upon that power to inspire and lead me through our journey. What I hear and feel from my team will become part of who I am and serve as a constant reminder of the importance of the work we are doing in creating life-changing cancer medicines, and the need to travel even further until we find a cure.
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