March 27, 2020
Over a week ago, the U.S. was rocked by the realization that the novel Covid-19 virus was spreading throughout the country. Based in Illinois, the staff at MPNRF have been sheltering in place since approximately March 16th, learning to adapt to this new reality, balancing home and work life from sharing Wifi with other workers in the home to incorporating homeschooling of young children into our workday. Like us, others in the nation quickly had to adjust their lives and re-evaluate their safety. That obviously includes those living with chronic blood cancers such as Polycythemia Vera, Essential Thrombocythemia and Myelofibrosis. Providing accurate and timely information from trusted sources has been at the top of our priority list since this began. We have been cataloging all the resources we could find on this page here. We are also hoping to host a virtual support group meeting in the coming weeks. If you would be interested please email us to let us know.
Beyond that, we began the process of reaching out to our currently funded researchers. We knew that many medical operations were emptying of employees who could work at home. Also, those trained as clinicians were called up to help with the surge of Covid patients needing care. We heard from them that they were almost universally packing up their lab materials, but that their work would continue, albeit in a new way. Like all of us, their thoughts are largely with the pandemic of Covid-19, but they would be using their time to think differently and also report on their research findings.
The overwhelming commitment of the medical community to people needing care, whether those with MPN or the general public, is admirable. We have long observed the sacrifice and dedication of the research community, which now has now taken on a more visceral quality as they are putting themselves potentially in harm’s way via stepping up to help directly with Covid-19 cases which are threatening and in some places already overwhelming health systems nationally. We salute their bravery – as well as all of those in the hospital system such as nurses, janitors and other health workers – and their commitment to those living with an MPN as well as the health of people generally.
Our spring newsletter has begun to hit mailboxes. We published the newsletter weeks before the world turned upside down, so it does not include mention of the Covid-19 virus. But with its receipt, you can rest assured that however, the world may be in turmoil, MPNRF will be there to provide accurate information around topics relevant to PV, ET and MF and especially to fund research that works toward finding better therapies and a cure for MPN.
We are paying out over $1 million in MPN grants this year, and the virus will not change that. Once we as a global community have done our part by practicing good hygiene and social distancing, and we have stemmed the tide of Covid-19, we will need to pick up where we left off. We are doing all we can to not lose momentum around advocating and fighting on behalf of those with MPN. You can continue to count on us for credible information and research funding during and after our national crisis.