Multiple myeloma support group joins international foundation

Tuesday 25 July 2023: A local support group for people diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, plans to expand its assistance to the community next month.

Pamela Shailer started the Bermuda Multiple Myeloma United Support Group in 2015 after someone newly diagnosed with the illness approached her for advice and support.

Mrs Shailer said the group has agreed to join the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), a US charity. The suggestion came from Dr Alisha Tucker, a Bermuda Hospitals Board locum oncologist/haematologist who specialises in blood cancers. Dr Tucker has experience with the IMF through a support group for patients she was involved with in Jamaica.

Dr Tucker said: “Membership to IMF gives members of the Bermuda patient support group access to the latest research and clinical guidance on managing the illness. They can also attend conferences and seminars, and access a wealth of up-to-date information.”

Mrs Shailer said: “We welcomed the suggestion and agree that this expands the benefit we can provide to not only our current members, but also the general community. We can become more educated survivors and pass that information on to anyone who approaches us about it.

“I was diagnosed in 2013 through a routine blood test in my annual physical with my GP. I had no symptoms. I’ve had a stem cell transplant and chemotherapy, followed by medication. Today am no longer on medication for it. I’ve stressed to my friends the advantage of getting annual physicals, and I feel passionate about sharing information I learn from the IMF.”

BHB Chief of Staff Dr Wesley Miller said: “Assisting our patients this way is an example of how our care extends beyond the walls of hospital buildings. We have a strong oncology team to meet the needs of our island community. They are highly trained, supportive and sensitive physicians and nurses who are uniquely qualified to manage and treat the varied cancer presentations in our people.”

Information about the Bermuda Multiple Myeloma United Support Group will appear on the IMF website in August. This will make the group easy to find for anyone, anywhere in the world, who may be coming to Bermuda and looking for support.

“Most importantly,” said Dr Tucker, “this will ensure that our patients who are diagnosed with multiple myeloma have access to developments on the disease, and can receive support and empowerment in the community.

“We look forward to assisting them in managing and treating their conditions, and even keeping us on our toes with their latest research knowledge and questions.”

The Bermuda Multiple Myeloma United Support Group meets once a month. For more information, contact Mrs Shailer at bermuda@imfsupport.org or call her on 236-6086.

-ends-

Notes to Editors

A local study conducted in 2017 found that 7% of cancers in Bermuda were blood cancers, and of those, 23% were multiple myeloma.

Here’s a link to the published research paper.

The Bermuda Hospitals Board is a quango (quasi autonomous non-governmental organisation) established under the Bermuda Hospitals Board Act, 1970. It has a Bermuda Government-approved Board and a Chief Executive Officer, responsible for King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute. At the heart of both organisations is high-quality care to all patients.

With approximately 1,700 employees, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is Bermuda’s second largest employer. King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute are the only healthcare organisations in Bermuda accredited by Accreditation Canada, an independent organisation whose role is to help hospitals examine and improve the quality of care and service they provide to their clients. In addition to providing an extensive list of services for the community, the Bermuda Hospitals Board is part of a referral network that includes some of the world’s leading specialist hospitals.

For more information, please visit www.bermudahospitals.bm or contact the Bermuda Hospitals Board Public Relations Department at publicrelations@bhb.bm.

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