An open letter to the myeloma community from the Chair of Myeloma UK, Marc Gordon

Myeloma UK news // 1st April 2021

As Chair of Myeloma UK, I wanted to personally let you know that after nine years on the Board of the charity, I will be retiring at the Annual General Meeting in April 2021.

I joined the Board in 2012 when Judy Dewinter, our former Chair and current President, approached me. I was honoured to serve initially as a Trustee, then Treasurer, and finally Chair. It was my wonderful and now dearly missed friend and myeloma patient, Alan Naftalin, who inspired me to join and to support the fantastic work that Myeloma UK had achieved thus far over its relatively short history. It has been a humbling experience.

This was and continues to be a charity that has always striven to make a difference and I have witnessed the results of this determination throughout my time at Myeloma UK. So many patients I have met, their families and carers, even their friends, have told me how important, how helpful, the organisation and its people have been – from advice at diagnosis, to counsel on drug treatments, to access to clinicians at Info Days or just a friendly and supportive voice via the Ask the Nurse email service or Info line.

We might specialise solely in myeloma and its related diseases, but we actually cover a lot of ground: transforming the lives of patients through our support services and our help to healthcare practitioners; our work in getting myeloma diagnosed earlier; our research into discovering drugs and treatment combinations; and finally, in our many successes in getting patients access to new drugs more quickly. Myeloma UK has had a hand in so many of the major developments that have allowed patients to live longer and better, an objective at the heart of what we do. This has required the dedication, commitment and effort of all our team at Myeloma UK and all our valued partners, and I have been constantly impressed by everyone’s desire to make a difference.

In my time both as Treasurer and Chair we have overseen big changes to the charity. We have initiated widespread organisational and structural advances and continued to professionalise our activities within. That has meant major shifts in order to improve what we do and how we serve our patients and support the healthcare community upon whom they so depend. Never was it more so than in this last year when the needs of our patients changed so suddenly and so much as result of the pandemic.

None of those changes could have occurred without the staff at Myeloma UK, who from this time last year have been guided by Laura Kerby, our new CEO. Laura had the challenging task of joining virtually in April 2020 yet was still able to instil new energy and focus, and work with our executive directors to take us forward. Laura and the team have been a wonderful support to me, as have my colleagues on the Board, and they deserve great praise from me for their passion and drive, which has in large part been inspired by the whole myeloma community. This charity is a testament to everyone – our team, our patients, their families, the clinicians, nurses, and those in the health and pharmaceutical industry who strive with us to get the right drugs and treatments to people.

Finally, we owe huge thanks and gratitude to you, our supporters. Your continuing contribution means an enormous amount to myeloma patients and it has made a significant difference not only to them but also to their families. I am incredibly grateful and appreciative for your commitment to us.

Yours sincerely,

Marc Gordon