Geraldine Ferraro’s Heroic Life and Battle with Multiple Myeloma

Update: Mar 26, 2011. We just learned that Geraldine Ferraro succumbed to Multiple Myeloma after a 13 yr long battle.

Geraldine Ferraro, was the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party. She is an author, attorney and a Democratic Party politician. She also served as a US ambassador the UN Commission on Human Rights and served on Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign when she ran for president in 2008. She’s inspired millions of Americans  and was one of the first women to help bring other women into the US political system.

In 1998, she was also diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Ferraro had felt unusually tired at the end of her senate campaign and in November of that year, was given the diagnosis. In time, Ferraro became a frequent speaker on the disease, and an avid supporter and honorary board member of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Though initially given only three to five years to live, by virtue of several new drug therapies and a bone marrow transplant, she has beaten the disease’s Stage 1 survival mean of 62 months by a factor of two. Although she is not in remission, and her health has deteriorated, her multiple myeloma is managed through the approval of new treatments, and through adjusting her treatments.

Geraldine Ferraro is a heroic woman because of her accomplishments and because she is winning the battle against multiple myeloma. Thanks to the MMRF and clinical research, Geraldine is a living example of the transition of what was once a fatal disease into a chronic one. Eventually, the goal, as with all cancers, is to cure it.

When asked what she has to say about this, she offered the following advice –

“Research, research, research.  If you spend enough money and if you have enough doctors working on [multiple myeloma], it’s not luck, it’s investment.”

When Geraldine was diagnosed, 4 major multiple myeloma drugs had not yet been FDA approved, one of them including Velcade.  Although her health is deteriorated, thanks to these drugs, she is still able to lead a relatively normal life as reported in this 2010, Crain’s article.

Here is an MSNBC video of her shot a few years ago, chronicling her experience with multiple myeloma:

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Geraldine is an example of the life saving benefit of clinical research. If you or someone you know suffers from multiple myeloma, please, visit the MMRF’s clinical trials site today and look for a trial, you may not only help your self, but tens of thousands of others who suffer from multiple myeloma.

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