My first visit to the 64th American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting Exhibit Hall was impressive. A conversation with Darrin Gansebom at the Takeda Oncology booth was a highlight. Teresa Miceli and I introduced ourselves and expressed our gratitude for Takeda being one of the sponsors for the patient/caregiver Support Group Leaders attendance at ASH22.

I stated that I was a five-year multiple myeloma survivor. I proceeded to share my story with him. When I communicated to my primary care physician, that recent blood work reflected protein in my blood, his response was that it was nothing to worry about. What I now understand is that we missed an opportunity for early detection. This is a major issue, especially for people of color because of the disparity in health care.

He was overjoyed with having the opportunity to talk with a patient, the end user of the products and services they provide. This he said was a unique opportunity for him and that it was the highlight of the conference for him because he usually interacts with medical professionals, researchers, and educators.

There was a spark as you can see from our smiles. He expressed how important it is that patient experiences, thoughts and concerns be heard. These aspects are key to the success of what is being done in oncology to support patient care.

A few minutes of conversation about me, a patient. A joyful response from a service provider made my first time ASH attendee experience empowering.

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