Hamilton County and Mayor Jim Coppinger have proclaimed March 2014 “Myeloma Awareness Month.”
Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is an incurable cancer of cells in the bone marrow that affects blood cell production and can lead to anemia, infections, bone lesions, vertebral compressions, osteoporosis, severe pain and kidney dysfunction, according to the International Myeloma Foundation.
“We appreciate the Commission’s help in raising awareness of myeloma,” said Linda Huguelet, leader of the Chattanooga Multiple Myeloma Networking Group. “This recognition helps increase awareness and may help patients get diagnosed and treated more quickly. Early diagnosis can lengthen survivability and reduce side effects of the disease.” Linda was joined at today’s meeting by fellow patient Bill Bennett, Hamilton County Property Assessor.
Myeloma currently affects more than 100,000 people in the United States, with an estimated 20,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Myeloma is increasing in numbers and is becoming more common in younger patients, with possible links to environmental toxins.
Ms. Huguelet who is a Signal Mountain resident, was diagnosed in 2010 when she was 46. “A myeloma diagnosis can be an overwhelming thing and our support group is a place where people with myeloma and their families can learn about the newest treatments available and gain support and education from those who have been living with the disease,” she said.
The local support group was founded in 1995 and Ms. Huguelet, along with her husband Jack, began leading the group in 2011. The group meets the third Thursday of each month and is supported by the Memorial Center for Cancer Support and the International Myeloma Foundation.
Myeloma Awareness Month is sponsored by the International Myeloma Foundation, the leader in global collaborative myeloma research. The IMF brings together the world’s leading myeloma experts through the International Myeloma Working Group and is charting a path to a cure through the foundation’s signature project, the Black Swan Research Initiative.
The Chattanooga Multiple Myeloma Networking Group meets the third Thursday of the month, from 6–7:30 p.m., at the Memorial Center for Cancer Support. For more information contact Linda Huguelet at 423 779-4907 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Linda on Twitter at @IMFlindaMYELOMA.