On September 25, 2014, the Arizona Myeloma Network (AzMN) celebrated 10 years of success with a ribbon cutting ceremony hosted in conjunction with the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. The ceremony symbolized how much AzMN has grown over the years, with its headquarters moving from AzMN Founder Barbara Kavanagh’s kitchen table, to a new office with staff and a network that reaches thousands. The ceremony was followed by a reception, where AzMN friends shared memories of the organization and how it had touched their lives over the years.
Founded in 2004, the Arizona Myeloma Network promotes awareness, education and advocacy for improved treatment and quality of life for multiple myeloma cancer patients, their families, and caregivers. Myeloma is a complex and often misdiagnosed cancer of the bone marrow that affects plasma cells, and Barbara realized that there were few resources available to myeloma patients and their families. Barbara and her husband Jack, a 23-year cancer survivor, work together to help other patients and caregivers who are struggling with this disease.
Each year, AzMN hosts an annual “Living with Myeloma” conference that has grown to serve almost 300 people, with attendees comprised of patients, caregivers, health care providers and the scientific community. In addition to the myeloma conference, AzMN offers cancer caregivers’ seminars that are held throughout the Valley to educate and support caregivers. Other advocacy programs include cancer awareness and outreach activities in the Navajo Nation, which include annual conferences that provide information and education about all cancers, and especially the high incidence of breast cancer among Navajo women. Many of these programs attract participants from outside of Arizona.
Although AzMN continues to grow, it has remained a local, grassroots charity. All advocacy programs are free of charge. To learn more about the Arizona Myeloma Network, visit the website at www.azmyelomanetwork.org.