Collaboration for Awareness - #GSKsummit

I am so behind on posting...  but better late than never, right?  It's been a busy month so far!  As you are all aware, every month is Melanoma Awareness month for me, but it gets extra attention in May!  We have such great awareness days as Melanoma Monday and Don't Fry Friday (FYI - that's tomorrow kids!)

Lately I've seen a number of Drug Companies, Organizations, etc doing what they can to see what can be done to work together to help create awareness!  We've all seen the stats that if caught early Melanoma is highly curable!

When I was contacted by Anna @ GSK (US External Communications) about an idea she had to bring together Melanoma patients (bloggers), patient advocate groups, and GSK team I didn't hesitate in saying I'd love to participate.  I wasn't really sure what to expect, but one thing I've learned along the way, is anything I can do to help, I'm willing to do!

Shortly after I was diagnosed, I made the decision to share my story and experiences.  So sometimes, it's a little strange to meet folks since they've already gotten a view in to who I am and what I've been dealing with thru my blog.  Everyone couldn't have been nicer and more welcoming! GSK was really doing their part to make sure their employees were aware of Melanoma and the dangers.  It was also a great opportunity to finally meet some fellow Melanoma Warriors in person!

The first part of the summit was for a few different folks from GSK to give us some background and information (for example a growing discussion around genetic testing and Melanoma).  Folks from GSK participating were:

- Jamey Millar, Vice President, U.S. Oncology, GSK (you can read a write up from him here)
- Dr. Faisal Mehmud, Head, U.S. Oncology Medical Affairs, GSK
- Dr. Diane McDowell, U.S. Oncology Medical Affairs Lead, GSK

It was great to hear about things like: putting the patient first and living their values (Respect, Transparency, Integrity, and Patient Focus).  These were obviously very in everyone's participation of the event!  Dr. McDowell pointed out that (sadly) 1/3 to 1/2 of all people will somehow be effected by cancer.  Anything we can do to come together to work towards awareness, is a step in the right direction!! (Melanoma is highly treatable if caught early)!

I thought there was some great discussion around the room about how to make folks aware of the growth of melanoma and how to prevent it!  Hopefully it was helpful for both the patient advocate groups participating and for GSK!   I would like to thank them for inviting us in!  Hopefully there will be more opportunities like this to help!  I think anytime you can bring a cross function group together you get great results!

I hope that everyone has a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!  For those of us from the North, this is typically the start of summer, and when most folks get burnt!  They aren't used to warmer weather...  great reminder to slap on some sunscreen!  Wear your hat and sunglasses!  and be sun savvy!  Oh yeah, and if you haven't done so already - schedule your annual appointment with your dermatologist!!

I know there are lots of other points/info I wanted to share from the summit, but this gal is exhausted!


GSK professionals, Melanoma Patients/Bloggers, and Patient Advocate groups
@ GSK offices at Navy Yard in Philly
For my fellow Melanoma folks - check out their blogs below!  (oh yeah and some of the patient advocate sites!)
NOTE: GSK provided reimbursement for travel and expenses to attend the GSK Melanoma Summit.  However, this post is voluntary, represents my own views and I was not paid to write it.

Some photos from the Day...
Cake Cutting - such a wonderful welcome from the GSK team!

Reminders to GSK Employees


Thought it was great reminder to employees on their way out to the rooftop area!

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