As director of Patient and Non-Personal Promotions at Celgene in Seattle, Becky Holman works to ensure information is communicated to patients as clearly as possible. She knows that the work she does could potentially make a difference in the lives of patients with blood cancers, but hearing it from the patients themselves is something altogether different.
Recently, Holman had just such an opportunity when she and her Celgene colleagues were asked to read letters written by blood cancer patients for a video to mark Blood Cancer Awareness Month. It was a powerful reminder of the special bond that everyone who works at Celgene shares with patients.
“At Celgene, we are bound together with patients in this fight to find a potential cure for blood cancers,” Holman said. “We share a common goal. They are fighting for their lives, and we are fighting alongside them. Celgene and the blood cancer community are truly bound by blood.”
The letter that Holman read was from a man with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) named Nick, whom she’d met earlier this year in Celgene’s Seattle office. He had recently had his 100-day treatment follow-up after treatment on a clinical trial with an investigational therapy.
Nick is a firefighter who puts his own life on the line to save others, playing an essential role in his community. He had faced heat and flames—and now cancer—with bravery.
He is also memorable because of his age; while lymphoma is most commonly diagnosed among people who are aged 65 to 74, Nick is in his early 30s. He and his wife discovered they were expecting their first child after he found out that his cancer had come back following treatment with chemotherapy.
“Knowing Nick, I could already see his face while I was reading his letter,” Holman said. “He helped me understand the ripple effect of blood cancer therapies. If we can help him, he has a chance to continue to save lives in his community through his job as a firefighter. That’s an immeasurable impact.”
Every time that we meet patients or read a letter from a patient, we deepen our commitment to the people who are fighting blood cancer alongside us.
The bonds between Celgene and the blood cancer community run deep. Patients with blood cancer, like Nick, rely on the research community and companies like Celgene to continue researching new treatment options. Meanwhile, Celgene relies on patients to take part in clinical trials of those therapies to ascertain the safety and effectiveness so we can hopefully offer them to the blood cancer community.
Celgene’s promise to the blood cancer community is to always put patients first, and the company takes steps to ensure that everyone who works there never loses sight of that promise. While it’s easy to get caught up in the strategy and operations of a large company, Celgene employees embrace the opportunity to meet and engage with people like Nick whose lives have been affected by blood cancer.
“Every time that we meet patients or read a letter from a patient, we deepen our commitment to the people who are fighting blood cancer alongside us,” Holman said. “We’re reminded why we are here, why we’re doing what we’re doing. It keeps us anchored, focused, grounded. It gives us purpose and hope.”
To learn more about the special bond shared by Celgene employees and blood cancer patients, watch the “Bound by Blood” video.