Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer. Yet the majority of patients have never heard of it until they are told they have the disease. To help raise awareness, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) in 2009 declared March “Myeloma Awareness Month.”
Increasing awareness of this devastating disease can lead to increased funding for research and ultimately save lives. Awareness can lead to patients asking whether their doctor has considered myeloma as a possible cause for their symptoms and can lead to earlier diagnosis.
Folks from across the country have been working hard this year having their home town, county or state declare March as Myeloma Awareness Month! March is not over yet, if you want to work on a proclamation scroll down.
Whether you want to pass a resolution at the town, county or state level, you will need to have a government official to shepherd the resolution through the process. Ask the folks in your support group if they know someone who could be helpful (council member, mayor, state legislator, etc). Or partner with a local hospital, wellness center or another cancer support group to ask if they have any allies at that level of government. If not, you will need to do some research
Once you identify the government official to lead the charge, find people who live in his/her district. Every governing body has their own path to getting measures passed. You will want to ask for the timeline in their governing body and if there are any other members you should speak to before a vote to ensure passage. Take any necessary actions promptly and report to the sponsor if necessary.
The Support Group Leader, or whoever has taken on leading this effort for your group, should make sure to sign up to speak during the public comment portion of the meeting. It is a good idea for the speaker to have a written statement. The speaker should briefly explain whom they represent (IMF and the name of the support group), why they support the resolution and the importance of it to the council members and community/state.
It is important to develop a list of media contacts to be used to publicize the proclamation once it is made. Once you know the proclamation will be signed, make sure any and all MAM events are publicized in the media. Immediately send out a press release telling what was passed, what organization proposed it, who the primary sponsor was, and mention any other individuals who were instrumental in its passage. Include a photo of your group representatives with the public officials or you speaking to the group. Publicity is the way to make your community more aware of Multiple Myeloma. It will also show those who voted for the resolution you are grateful to them and you are taking action on the measure they spent time passing for you. We will provide you with a generic press release that you can customize and submit to local papers.