Vik Ram

Working Together
Monday, November 11
As a patient marketer at Celgene, my mission is to make the complexities inherent with learning about a multiple myeloma diagnosis and its associated treatment options easier for patient and caregivers to understand. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task for anyone. The commitment to research from partners such as Celgene and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation has led to the development of exciting new treatment options for patients, but no patient’s multiple myeloma journey is the same and the learning curve associated with matching therapeutic options to diverse patient profiles and phases of the patient journey does not have a simple textbook to guide one through it. The multiple myeloma treatment landscape is evolving rapidly and being involved in this space, whether you’re a health care provider, patient, caregiver, or marketer, requires a mindset that is adaptable to new information that will likely challenge all the notes you previously took in your personal Wiki on how to understand multiple myeloma and its associated treatment options.

One of the most gratifying aspects of my job in patient marketing at Celgene has been working directly with multiple myeloma patients on various aspects of materials that are designed to help patients with this complex challenge of making multiple myeloma easier to understand. Multiple myeloma patients are fortunate to have compassionate doctors, nurses, case workers, and pharmacists helping them navigate all phases of their journey with this disease, but I often hear from patients that what prompts to have a more active voice on their multiple journey is gaining perspectives from other multiple myeloma patients. What is great about the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program is the emphasis it places on not battling anything in isolation and learning from each other. We hike together at a pace set by whoever is challenged most by the task ahead of us. It’s incredibly moving for me to see how the patients, some even supported by their caregiver on the trek, are gaining valuable insights from each other about crafting a long-term perspective for living with multiple myeloma.

Celgene, CURE, and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation are doing such great work with broadcasting this important message of not being alone with this disease to a much larger audience of multiple myeloma patients globally.

Our group mantra of “working together” started as soon as we all woke up this morning, preparing to depart Buenos Aires for El Calafate for our first trek. After we checked in, we learned that we had to report to a separate counter to pay for our luggage before a boarding pass would be issued. Unfortunately, the line for the cashier was lengthy and our connection time for the flight was tight and not all credit cards were accepted. My teammates supported each other and covered the expenses of other teammates if necessary. We waited as group for the final member of our team to finally receive his boarding pass before rushing to get past security with backpacks unfastened and loosely hanging onto our backs (our boots are great for hiking, running through crowded airports not so much). Working together as a team we made sure everyone made the flight. On board that flight now, as I start an expedition that will involve crossing over glaciers, through deep valleys, and ascending challenging peaks, I certainly don’t have a bird’s eye view of what to expect, but there’s no doubt in mind that we will collectively and uniquely define success for the MM4MM’s first Patagonia trek over the next ten days by working together as a team.
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