Called My Mentor Connections, the program enlists caregivers and patients as mentors who volunteer to provide answers and support over the phone to other patients or friends, caregivers, and family members. The overall goal is to further understanding about how to live well with multiple myeloma.
In addition to providing resources, including education and other guides and tools, mentors share stories from their experiences, and generally offer collegial support. Resources range from disease information and financial assistance to how to speak about cancer and understand lab tests.
“Anyone who’s had cancer will tell you that some of the best guidance comes from those who’ve been through similar experiences,” the program’s webpage states. “Your healthcare team, and your friends and family, provide support during the good times and the bad.
“My Mentor Connections was designed to offer another source of support for you and your caregiver in navigating life with multiple myeloma. Our mentors are patients and caregivers, like you, and are ready to become part of your support team,” it adds.
For example, patients can share whatever is on their minds, and learn how mentors managed life before, during, and after treatment. Mentors can, perhaps, share some levity to give patients an emotional boost. When necessary, they will refer patients back to their physicians or other resources for more information.
“I remember thinking that I’d led a great life, but there was so much I hadn’t done yet,” said patient and mentor Matt H. (last name undisclosed) on the program’s website. “And that’s when it hit me: this is my journey. It is what I make of it. This became my battle cry.”
Personal information disclosed during registration will only be used for program purposes. Following registration, multiple myeloma patients will be paired with either a patient or caregiver mentor. To sign up, go here or call 844-482-6818.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 32,110 new cases of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow, will be diagnosed this year. The lifetime risk of getting multiple myeloma is 1 in 132.