Fostering community and change are essential parts of Valarie Traynham’s DNA. After her diagnosis she started attending a local support group and soon found herself leading one in Aurora, Illinois, a western Chicago-area suburb. And she’s a Myeloma Coach. Oh, and she moderates the Myeloma Crowd’s African American Community Chapter and Facebook page.
All that plus fitting in her own life, living outside of myeloma’s shadow, is an important idea she wants to convey to fellow patients.
“I became a Myeloma Coach after meeting many patients who did not have a peer mentor to ask questions and find relevant information about myeloma,” said Valarie. “Since I was diagnosed in 2015, I’ve had a transplant and have taken thalidomide, Velcade, Revlimid, and Kyprolis in various combinations with dexamethasone, I feel like I have something important to share.”
When considering ASH, Valarie says she’s “interested in learning more about precision medicine, what research is being done to uncover specific cancer genomes, and what the significance of MGUS is for diagnosed patients.
“My hope is that this research will eventually lead to tailored therapies for all patients.”
about the author
Greg Brozeit has been engaged in myeloma patient advocacy since 1998. He began working with the Myeloma Crowd in 2015. Prior to that, he consulted with Dr. Bart Barlogie at the University of Arkansas after working with the International Myeloma Foundation for 15 years, where he inaugurated the public policy advocacy program, patient support group outreach and IMF Europe, organizing more than 100 physician and patient education programs. He earned his BA in political science from Loyola University in New Orleans and lives in northeast Ohio.