Last week I had the pleasure of telling my story to a group of Teva Pharmaceutical Oncology employees at their annual field meeting. If I could sum up the week in one word it would have to be “meaningful”. For those unfamiliar with the backstory, Teva manufactures the chemotherapy drug Bendeka. Bendeka was the drug I used (with great success) during my recent relapse and chemotherapy treatments. That successful series of treatments led to a great connection with the folks at Teva who then invited us to their annual meeting for me to speak and share my story.
My wife and I made some incredible connections with a great team of individuals who are committed to finding cures and improving the quality of life of those living with chronic cancer. While I have told my story many times over the years to a wide array of audiences, there is something special about talking to a group of people whose livelihood is so cancer and oncology-centric. I received some great feedback on my presentation and my story in general and more thank yous than I can possibly count. The Teva family embraced us as their own it was very clear how much they valued us being there.
But the reality is, we are the appreciative ones. Not only did we appreciate the invitation to spend time with the folks at Teva, we are immensely indebted to the work they are doing. I was a mess in 2016 plagued by a myriad of health issues that all ended up being related to my chronic lymphocytic leukemia relapse. Bendeka was my saving grace. Bendeka put me back on the path to remission, recovery, and rebirth. Bendeka allowed me to turn the page to a new beginning in 2017 with restored enthusiasm.
As I said in my presentation, every single Teva employee plays a part. You are all key components of a greater process or assembly line. The difference between you and those manufacturing widgets is that you are saving lives. The end result of your assembly line and process is human life. Don’t ever forget that every single person in your organization contributes to that end result.
To make things even sweeter, I had an oncology checkup upon returning from our trip. Not only was my blood work spot on perfect, I can now stop taking the oral meds Allopurinol and Bactrim which I have been taking for almost 11 years as preventative drugs against the risks associated with my leukemia and related treatments. AND I do not need to go back in for another three months. I haven’t seen a three month window for well over a year. For all of 2016 I needed to check in with my oncolodoc every one to two months.
So for that and all of the work that you do, I say THANK YOU Teva. You are living, breathing examples of being the change we all want to see in the world.