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Join Gisely’s Campaign to Accelerate a Myeloma Cure for All!
Posted: Apr 24, 2024
Join Gisely’s Campaign to Accelerate a Myeloma Cure for All! image

Gisely, a wife, mother, and multiple myeloma patient, aims to raise $5,000 for her birthday this year to help support HealthTree Foundation programs to move closer to a cure for all. Gisely is sharing her story with us today so everyone can see how Healthtree’s education programs helped her and how they can also empower and guide others on their journey with multiple myeloma. Read Gisely’s story below to learn more! 

Gisely’s Story

Hello everyone, Gisely from Toronto here! I would like to share some of my journey so far with you, so… hold on tight! 

I moved from Brazil to Canada the day after I got married, in October 2004. I confess that I was a little scared to make a 360-degree turn and venture into the frozen lands of the north with my husband Marcelo, but I can guarantee that this was the best decision I’ve made in life.

It wasn't easy to leave all my family, friends, and everything I built behind and start from scratch, but I always liked challenges, and this was one for the history books!

My husband and I have been blessed with two beautiful daughters, Livia, born in 2008, and Tais, born in 2012. And I can yell out loud that I have THE BEST FAMILY!

My Myeloma Diagnosis and Treatment

In 2021, after some time of suffering from body pain, especially in my back, I had the unfortunate news that I had myeloma. Like most patients, I also did my research with Dr. Google, and my world came crashing down. I was 44 at that time, and for someone young and healthy, it was a shock to read the news of having an incurable disease and uncertain survival odds.

It was a complicated period as we still had restrictions due to COVID-19 in Canada, and only a few professionals were accepting new patients (we have a public health system here). I waited for about 5 months until I finally had my diagnosis confirmed and started my first line of therapy: a combination therapy of cyclophosphamide, bortezomib, and dexamethasone (CyBorD) followed by an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT, which took place in May of 2022).

Following the medical protocol, I started maintenance therapy three months after the transplant with lenalidomide but decided to stop due to the side effects at the time. However, I am now preparing to restart using the medication again.

How Did I Find Out About the HealthTree Foundation? 

Since my diagnosis and throughout my treatment, I have connected with many patient groups and organizations that offered support services to me and my family. I'm grateful to all of them, but thanks to a comment from a patient in one of the groups I was part of, I heard about the HealthTree Foundation. I got in touch with one of the people responsible for the Philadelphia group, who became my Myeloma Coach later (Maddie Hunter), and from then on, I never distanced myself from the HealthTree Foundation.

I continue to connect with Maddie and other coaches who give me confidence moving forward. I also recently volunteered as a coach to pass on all the help I received to other patients.

How HealthTree Programs Have Helped Me

Finding out about the HealthTree Foundation was an eye-opener and the help I sought. Their resources are very simple to navigate, from creating an account to accessing all the website's options. The support team is very helpful and always responds quickly to my queries.

In addition to counting on the support of my Coaches and providing support to other patients through the HealthTree Coach program, everything else they have to offer has been helpful to me:

  • HealthTree Cure Hub, where I have my medical data, which I can share with specialists inside and outside of Canada; track my labs; find doctors and treatment options/clinical trials around the world; solutions for side effects due to medications and therapies; connect with people who have a similar condition (Twin Machine) so that we can share experiences and help each other. All this is in addition to helping to generate anonymized real-world data so that researchers can have quicker answers through surveys/clinical trials to accelerate new relevant discoveries in the search for a cure.
  • HealthTree News, where I stay informed of the latest news related to myeloma, helps me advocate for myself, discuss the best treatment options with my medical team, and make the right decision. 
  • HealthTree University, where I learn about the most varied terms and subjects related to the disease. This is extremely important for me to understand my condition and what to expect.
  • HealthTree Events, where I can have my personal questions answered by the most diverse experts in the myeloma field and make valuable connections with other peers.

To All the Friends I Made Along the Way 

Throughout my journey as an immigrant, especially after my diagnosis, I have always been surrounded by many people of different nationalities and backgrounds, and most of them became more than friends; they became my Canadian family! 

Among my many friends, I want to say a BIG THANK YOU to Adriana Gonzaga. A strong woman who brings people together and has a huge heart!!! She offered her support in the fight against this disease by opening a space during her birthday celebration and with her circle of friends so I could share my story. She, along with my other friends Ana, Juliana, and Fatima, is also helping me organize an event that will take place on May 26th to raise awareness about myeloma and raise funds for the HealthTree Foundation. HOORAY!

I heard this saying once: IN LIFE, WHAT IS NOT A LESSON IS A MISSION! And that's what I want to do with this situation I've come across in life: turn it into a mission to help in whatever way I can. I firmly believe that all difficult situations come with good things. I had the opportunity to learn so much and to meet wonderful people along the way. We are all connected in a chain, and it is up to us to take the first step in accepting and doing good.

I hope you can join us and share this campaign link with as many people as possible to achieve our goal of raising $5,000. 

Donate to Support Gisely’s Campaign

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Remember to appreciate life for every single moment! 

- Gisely 

The author Megan Heaps

about the author
Megan Heaps

Megan joined HealthTree in 2022. As a writer and the daughter of a blood cancer patient, she is dedicated to helping patients and their caregivers understand the various aspects of their disease. This understanding enables them to better advocate for themselves and improve their treatment outcomes. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, sewing, and cooking.

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