The Tony Award winning Broadway production, Rent, follows the story of a group of young, impoverished artists and musicians as they attempt to survive and live in New York City. As they struggle with paying their rent, drug addiction, and HIV, they develop relationships that transcend their circumstances. It is those circumstances that lead them to discover that life is captured in day to day living and caring for one another. The musical’s key message is delivered in the song “Seasons of Love,” which serves to quantify the things that matter most as they happen all 521,600 minutes of the year.
There is an interesting parallel between the story portrayed in Rent and the stories that play out in our lives as members of the CML community. Each day we face struggles that test our mettle, whether they be emotional, spiritual, financial, or simply reflecting on the life that once was or could have been. It’s during these times that our circumstances begin to introduce us to others facing these same challenges. In finding common ground, relationships form that help us deal with the struggles. Perhaps we begin to see value in simpler things and to find enjoyment in the present, rather than grieving for the past. These are the moments in which we are truly alive!
All of us have some sort of timeline running inside our heads. We keep track of how many days are left until the next holiday, how many hours we have to finish a project, or how many minutes we had to wait at our last appointment. These units of time serve to quantify our lives. And so it is with marking anniversaries and special events.
This past weekend marked a significant time for The National CML Society. It was on August 3, 2007 that Carolyn’s Hope (what would eventually become the NCMLS) became more than just notes on a page, it became a reality. From those humble beginnings, remarkable things have happened.
In the early days, the organization held blood and marrow drives, worked with individuals to secure help in acquiring and paying for treatments, and shared current, real, and relevant information that could help CML families make informed decisions about their care. Over the past six years, that small work has blossomed into a national organization dedicated solely to the Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia community in the United States. Each and everyday, the organization advocates on behalf of the CML community. From developing and hosting educational events to holding the hand of someone frightened and confused by the diagnosis, the NCMLS strives to provide a place where one can find resources for a variety of needs.
This phenomenal growth could not be possible without the guidance of some of the nation’s leading CML specialists, and the tireless effort of countless volunteers and friends who have believed in the work. The past 2198 days have patterned and shaped the organization in ways none of us would have imagined on that steaming hot day in 2007.
On day 2199, we embark on the seventh year of serving the CML community. So much promise is held in the next 521,600 minutes we have before us. I hope you will join me and countless others as we call for continued research, access to life saving treatment, hope for an ever improving quality of life, and an opportunity to embrace life today and in the years to come.
Together we can do great things!