January 26, 2011
Don’t Forget Your Re-Birthday! Kathy Giusti, CEO
You never forget the moment you hear, “You have cancer.” Even after 15 years, the heartbreak of that day doesn’t seem to fade. Each January, as the anniversary of my diagnosis draws near, I brace myself for what has always been a bittersweet day—one laced with feelings of devastation and fear that never quite go away, yet mixed with immense gratitude for the beginning of another year I never imagined I’d live to see.
This January also marked another anniversary in my life with multiple myeloma—five years since my stem cell transplant with my twin sister, Karen, as my donor. I will always remember that day as a re-birth—a new chance for me to fight the disease and the belief that I just might make it through. I am thankful for each and every moment the transplant bought me, but it has gone by so unbelievably fast that I didn’t see the anniversary coming. And I certainly did not think it was on anyone else’s radar.
So imagine my shock when, at the end of Michael Reinert’s incredible show about his journey with multiple myeloma, “So Tell Me, What Can I Do?” there was a surprise party in honor of my fifth “re-birthday.” I felt so blessed that everyone was able to come together to celebrate the incredible gift of time my sister gave me and reminded me to never take for granted the hope that my transplant brought. It is moments like these, surrounded by the people who mean the most, that patients live and breathe for. Thank you, thank you, thank you to family and my dear friends, who have never left my side, my doctors at Dana-Farber, Ken Anderson and Paul Richardson, and the talented Michael Reinert, who together made my re-birthday one that I will never forget.
Me, Michael Reinert, and my twin sister Karen Andrews
Michael and I cutting into my beautiful 're-birthday' cake!