I wanted to share media profiles about two of the most high profile multiple myeloma survivors: Lisa Ray and Kathy Giusti:
Lisa Ray Tells Her Story One Sari at a Time
Huffington Post – Canada
By Anjum Choudhry Nayyar
Sometimes when you meet someone you never forget the feeling you have after talking to them. Lisa Ray is one such person. You really sense a love of life and a fire in Lisa when you meet her, that will leave its impact on you days after. At the official launch of her limited edition line of 10 sarees by SatyaPaul Canada, I had the chance to meet and speak with model-actress and social activist, Lisa Ray. She was there to launch her line of saris but was incredibly gracious taking time to meet with all the invited guests, chat with them, give hugs and take pics with those who asked. More importantly she was there to share her story through this incredibly stunning line of sarees.
Ray, an internationally acclaimed and award-winning actress, model, host and cancer advocate was raised in Toronto by an Indian father and Polish mother and moved to India to launch her career at the age of 16. In 2009, she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and after two years of treatment she married Jason Dehni in California’s Napa Valley. On her wedding day, Ray wore a custom-made Satya Paul georgette sari highlighted with traditional gota-patti work.
“Living with Multiple Myeloma, I have learned that the progress of the human spirit doesn’t stop with obstacles and challenging circumstances. I want to share my message of victory and love with others, so I am partnering with Satya Paul to present a line of saris that capture the intimate and celebratory emotions of my wedding. The collection is also themed around universal qualities that helped me to rise above, like Phoenix Rising, Hope and Faith,” said Ray…
There’s more. Access the second half of the article about Lisa Ray:
Next up, high profile MMRF founder, Kathy Giusti:
Diagnosed With Incurable Cancer And Given 3 Years To Live: What Would You Do?
You’re a vibrant, healthy mother, wife, and a young executive on the rise. At just 37 years old, you get the fateful news that you’ve been diagnosed with a deadly cancer. Your doctors begin to tell you to ‘get your life in order.’
Kathy Giusti faced this devastating prospect when she learned in 1996 that her form of multiple myeloma, a blood cancer eroding the bones, was 100% fatal – and that she wouldn’t see her one-year-old daughter make it to kindergarten. “I felt really hopeless, to be honest with you,” recalls Giusti when she began researching the dim realities of her disease. But her journey since then remains one of the most remarkable and hopeful stories I have heard.
With little time to spare, Giusti’s first move after the diagnosis surprised many. She and her husband had long wanted another child, and now more than ever, giving her young daughter a sibling became a priority. Despite the grave concerns of her doctors, Kathy underwent IVF and gave birth to a son less than a year and a half after her deadly diagnosis.
“People that live with a fatal disease, I don’t think we’re so scared of death and the process of dying. I think we’re scared of all the joy we’re going to miss,” Giusti explained. Driven to live long enough so that her kids would remember their mother, Giusti embarked on her life-long mission to buy time, and in so doing, she came to some sobering realizations. “I was working with all the clinicians and the scientists, just doing my second, third, fourth opinions to understand more about my disease. I quickly could see the problem,” she described. “I knew right away, ‘Wow, these guys don’t talk to each other.’” During that process, she also came to the unsettling conclusion that the traditional models to advance new drugs were deeply flawed, as was the efficacy of traditional fundraising organizations to support those efforts.
Bringing her business savvy as a pharma exec and her science background to bear, Giusti became one of cancer’s unexpected entrepreneurs. Alongside her identical twin sister, Giusti founded the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) in 1998 in search of more aggressive and accelerated approaches to drug development — and perhaps even the discovery of a cure in her lifetime. Amidst relapses, a stem cell transplant, 12-hour workdays, and all while raising two kids, Giusti managed to accomplish the unimaginable as both a patient and a catalyst for change. Through MMRF, Giusti’s not only advanced game-changing treatments and drugs for fellow multiple myeloma patients, but she’s also revolutionized research and drug discovery models far beyond the scale and scope of her disease…
Here’s the link to more about Kathy Giusti in Forbes, including a video clip of the interview:
Two strong, brave women; both multiple myeloma survivors. But they’re so much more! As many of us live longer than expected we, too, will have the opportunity to leave our myeloma community–and out world–a better place.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat