Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"My personal goal was to live until the next LLS conference because each year the research was improving."

Calvin Harkless and his wife make the drive from Edmond, OK to Dallas, TX every year to attend the North Texas Cancer Expo presented by Briggs Equipment.  They make a point not to miss it.  Why?  We'll let Calvin tell you in his own inspiring words.

"I was diagnosed December 24, 2010 with stage four multiple myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow. On January 5, 2011 I started weekly IV chemo infusions. I had no idea it would be four years and four months later before being taken off of all cancer treatment and drugs. 

My wife and I made it our mission to attend the North Texas Cancer Expo (formerly the North Texas Blood Cancer Conference) sponsored by The Leukemia &Lymphoma Society (LLS) each year. In 2011, we attended our first LLS conference and was overwhelmed by the information on Multiple Myeloma and other blood cancers. While attending the various sessions I recall thinking “I have a new paradigm for a hero.” The men and women, who dedicate their life to research and technology to find a cure for cancer, there can be no higher calling.

Having access to the top researchers in blood cancer, face to face Q&A with pharmaceutical representatives, networking with other blood cancer patients and care providers and hearing the many inspiring testimonies were invaluable. The LLS conference became my Christmas, each year anxiously waiting to hear about the new drugs approved and future research on blood cancer. My personal goal was to live until the next LLS conference because each year the research was improving.   

The highlight of attending the LLS conference was in 2012 after the FDA approved Velcade to be administered subcutaneous. The announcement was made during a presentation at the conference. At my next appointment with my oncologist, I shared the information on the FDA approval of Velcade to be administered subcutaneous and provided supporting documentation collected from the conference. This began the process of changing the hospital protocol from IV to subcutaneous injections. The following week the pharmaceutical representative confirmed the FDA approval during a doctor visit. I became very emotional having my chemo infusion for the first time subcutaneous. Each year after attending the LLS conference I would share with my oncologist the current research on Multiple Myeloma.

I was taken off of cancer treatment and drugs on May 2015.  In August 2016 no multiple myeloma cells were found active in my body. My wife and I will always be an advocate for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society."

Don't miss your opportunity to participate in the FREE 2017 North Texas Cancer Expo presented by Briggs Equipment.  Registration is now open for the expo as well as the general and healthcare sessions.  The event is free but requires registration.  

Saturday, September 16th
Omni Hotel, Dallas, TX
8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

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