September, 2014 Archives

Yet Again, These Are My People

September 19th, 2014

Scenes from a cancer conference

Every 18 months I have the ultimate pleasure of volunteering at a blood and marrow transplant conference. I’ve written about these conferences in the past, saying “These are my people.” This year, in particular, I felt that way even more acutely.

First, there were all those people checking out my book, which was just a thrill. Then there were the nutty people with the nutty shirts. There were the lovely patients who were still struggling through their own personal hells and the pioneers from more than 50 years ago who are still going strong, living large.

And then, there was the breaking news of radical new non-invasive therapies and cures for our brothers and sisters still in the throes of their diseases. You can read about them here, in The New Yorker, if you care.

It was an exhausting weekend with me running around like a wild man, hauling my flash units everywhere, making sure I documented every single speaker — then putting together a slide show at the end. All of it was made possible by my friends at BMTinfonet.org.

Look, cancer sucks (as my shirt says), and blood and marrow transplants can knock the stuffing out of you. But if you must join our club, these people are some of the most amazing folks I’ve met so far on this planet.

 

Bone Marrow Conference 001

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of seeing a bunch of people reading your book, AND SMILING!

 

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Nancy McLain, left, had her bone marrow transplant the year I was born. She got the marrow from her twin sister, right. It was incredible seeing how far they’ve come, both in their lives and in the art of transplants.