Greetings from Barcelona, Spain, where it is hot, somewhat humid and very exciting. I have moved here from Seattle with my family to help us all think more globally – personally and professionally. When it comes to concerns about serious medical issues we all share many of the same thoughts: what is the latest news to help us get well and stay well? Who are the doctors and where are the clinics that are “in the know?” What questions can we ask to ensure we get the best treatment?
I have dedicated my life to helping patients get that information and it is no different here than in the U.S. The other day my wife, Esther, and I ran into a large family snapping photos by the park around the corner. We offered to snap one for them so that they all could be in the picture. They were grateful. It turned out not only had they moved from Seattle too – four years before – but one of the grandmothers shared she was living with advanced breast cancer. She was instantly interested in learning about Patient Power. When she told me her breast cancer was HER2 positive, I asked if she’d heard the news about a forthcoming breakthrough treatment for that cancer type. She had not. I directed her to our two very recent interviews on the subject from the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting. As I told her, she said “I’m getting chills just thinking this could give me new hope.” This kind of interaction, whether in person or at town meetings or online in the middle of the night, is Patient Power’s mission. It is thrilling to see us make a difference face-to–face.
Here in Europe there are new partner advocacy organizations to meet. My friend Greg Stephens from the National CML Society will be here next week and I know he will help us meet his peers on this side of the Atlantic. I am excited to see if our audio and video interviews and town meetings can be helpful in E.U. countries while we continue to produce programs throughout the U.S. All this comes at a time when the Internet, more than ever before, is available to help us. Bandwidth is there for high definition video programs and sharing across far distances with ease. Soon I will be “anchoring” programs from my studio here and we are bringing on additional contributors like Kevin Alexander in PKU to help us do even more. Two former national television producer colleagues from San Francisco, experienced with medical topics, will join in and you can expect to see contributions from other thoughtful medical journalists, mentor patients, healthcare providers and advocates. We are all in this together and Patient Power is committed to helping you feel in more control of your personal health journey.
One other cool story: The apartment we are living in came to us through a connection with an online leukemia survivor friend who lives here in Barcelona. Months ago I mentioned on ACOR.org’s CLL online community that we planned to move here and were looking for an apartment. Luis Uribe, a six year resident here and long-time CLL’er, came forward to connect me with his friend and neighbor Amy who wanted to sublet. Now we live in Amy’s apartment minutes from the beach and in the very hip El Borne neighborhood. Better still is that Luis and I are becoming pals – connected by the CLL diagnosis at first via the Internet, but now connected even more as graying men who are enjoying life and current good health. Last night we had a drink together and the talk was of everything BUT CLL. I appreciate how our mutual interest in the latest information for leukemia brought us together but even more pleased that modern medicine has made it possible for us to put that aside, hopefully for many years, and enjoy the life and location we have picked.
So welcome to our new global view. We welcome your comments and suggestions as we attempt to do more for you – wherever you – or I – may be.
Wishing you the best of health!