Canberra MPN ‘Coffee and Chat’ group

Canberra MPN ‘Coffee and Chat’ group

Here in the nation’s capital, we have established a regular ‘coffee and chat’ group for MPN patients and their families or carers.  So far we have had two monthly get-togethers in a cosy lounge area of a Civic café, Xchange on London, on a Saturday morning. We might even branch out to the stunning outdoor setting of the National Library’s café when the weather warms up. Canberra is such a beautiful city and it really is a delight to be in such exquisite surroundings.

  

For our first two get-togethers we have had initially 8, then 10 attendees, and we have the three main types of MPN represented: 2 myelofibrosis, 3 polycythaemia vera and 2 essential thrombocythaemia.  Our other attendees have been family members which has been much appreciated.

I guess it’s a cliché but we have all found it so helpful to meet other MPN patients face to face and talk about our issues and concerns. We really understand each other as we share our stories, our diagnoses, our experiences with various medications, our hopes for a cure, and of course our ups and downs living with an MPN. One member has even had a bone marrow transplant more than 25 years ago, and is ‘alive and well and living in Weston Creek’ so it is very encouraging to hear his experiences and see him in good health.

I should reassure you that we try not to talk about the political scene here in Canberra, tempting as it is with the latest political dramas! Rather these chats have been very companionable and informal. We have agreed to see how we go meeting monthly and we would love you to join us if you have an MPN or are a family member or carer for someone with an MPN.

For details of the next get-together, keep an eye on this website under ‘Events’ and we will also advertise on our MPN Alliance Australia facebook page, Ken Young’s MPD-oz Email Support Group (mpd-oz@mpd-oz.org) and Josie Muller’s MPN Australia & NZ Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Support Community facebook page.

Jenny Myers
(Polycythemia Vera -diagnosed December 2014)
MPN Alliance Australia

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MPN Patient Program – 28 April 2017

The Australian MPN community was given a wonderful gift on Friday 28 April by Ann Brazeau and her team from MPN Advocacy and Education International, together with Drs Ruben Mesa, Laura Michaelis, and Raajit Rampal from the US; and Drs Cecily Forsyth, Steven Lane, Kate Burbury, David Ross, and Wendy Erber, and Andrew Lim, (standing in for Prof Andrew Grigg), from Australia.

Months of planning culminated in an outstanding educational event for the group of over 150 Australian MPN patients, caregivers and haematologists.

We all expected great things from the US contingent, and they certainly delivered. We were also extremely impressed by the presentations from our home-grown haematologists. The level of passion, dedication and care for patients was very evident in each and every one of the presentations.

After the formal presentations, patients and caregivers were able to ask questions of the presenters in disease-specific break-out sessions.

I think for patients and caregivers ranging from the newly diagnosed to the old hands, everybody learned something, and valued the opportunity to share with patients and professionals during breakfast, lunch, and the wonderful Mix and Mingle event at the end of the day. If we didn’t finish all that wonderful food, it was only because we were so busy talking!

Given the amount of information which was presented on the day, I am looking forward to seeing the video of the presentations, to have the opportunity to revisit it.

Together with my MPNAA colleagues, I felt privileged to have had the opportunity to listen to the clinicians in their meeting on the Thursday afternoon, as we gained insights into the challenges of diagnosis and treatment of these complex blood cancers.

Thanks so much to Ann and Marina (as well as Kathleen behind the scenes) and the wonderful doctors who were willing to cross the vast Pacific to share their knowledge. Thanks also to all the wonderful clinicians and researchers who came from far and wide across Australia. Together you enlightened, empowered and entertained all those who were lucky enough to be present!

I feel so inspired.

Sue Taylor

Videos of the presentations are available here.

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Why MPN AEI came to Australia!

By Ann Brazeau, CEO, MPN Advocacy and Education International

MPN Advocacy and Education International hosts several patient/caregiver educational programs per year. Although most take place in the United States, their goal to expand to other countries where MPN groups are interested in partnering to benefit their MPN Communities has been a priority.

Through collaboration with the MPN Alliance Australia, the first patient/caregiver program was held in Melbourne on the 28th April, 2017. MPN specialists from Australia joined U.S. specialists to share up-to-date, relevant information to over 150 patients and caregivers.

Empowering patients with the knowledge they need to better understand the complexities of MPNs, is what MPN Advocacy and Educational International hopes to achieve at these events. Partnerships are essential to the success of these very important programs. Imparting valuable, reliable information to the MPN Communities around the world helps bridge the gap to understanding what is being done, and identifying unmet needs.

In the early days of my work in MPN little was being shared among researchers and academic institutions. Today, it is a common practice. Recognizing the importance and value in collaborating, researchers and clinicians are much more amenable and grateful for opportunities to share their experiences and findings. Thus, a physician/researcher meeting was held the afternoon before the patient event.

A half-day strategy meeting with the MPN Alliance Australia proved to be meaningful and productive. Their dedication and commitment to the patients and caregivers in Australia is evident in the many hours they volunteer each week.

We are proud to have been a part of this experience and were happy to pull this event together with our partners, MPN Alliance Australia.

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