MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — In September, 50 volunteer advocates whose lives have been touched by blood stem cell transplants traveled from across the country to join the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)/Be The Match’s first-ever Advocacy Ambassador Leadership Summit in Minneapolis, Minn.
The summit focused on empowering and educating grassroots leadership volunteers to advocate for policies that help patients with blood cancers, including leukemia and lymphoma.
Lisa Maxson of Casstown and Thomas Kendall of Troy represented Ohio at the seminal conference where they spent two days in intensive training developing a plan to engage elected officials in Ohio and on Capitol Hill to expand access to blood stem cell transplants—the only curative therapy for blood cancers.
As a leadership volunteer in the Casstown community, Lisa and Thomas will further awareness, as well as conduct outreach and provide education, about the importance of ensuring equal outcomes for all patients who need a blood stem cell transplant, focusing on access and reimbursement for Medicare patients.
More than 1.3 million Americans suffer from blood cancers, with a new patient diagnosed every three minutes in the United States. Blood stem cell transplants can treat more than 70 diseases, including Hodgkin Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma and Sickle Cell Disease.
The goal of Maxson, Kendall and volunteer advocates like them is to help ensure all patients have access to their cure.
For people with life-threatening blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma, a cure exists. The National Marrow Donor Program(NMDP)/Be The Match connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant and works to identify and eliminate financial and other barriers faced by these patients. NMDP also provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education, and guidance before, during and after transplant.