Every week, 38 Australians are diagnosed with myeloma, an incurable blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow. Despite this, many people have never heard of myeloma until they, or a loved one, are diagnosed with it. This May, Myeloma Australia hopes to change this.

The non-profit organisation will launch a myeloma awareness campaign called 38mate, to coincide with National Myeloma Awareness Month this May. The campaign aims to raise awareness about myeloma and show support and solidarity for the 20,000 Australians currently living with myeloma.

38mate hinges on a series of short videos that will be released via Myeloma Australia’s website and social media platforms throughout May, each sharing the real-life story of a person who is living with myeloma, caring for a loved one who has myeloma, or has lost a loved one to myeloma.

There is also a 38mate cap, available for purchase from Myeloma Australia’s web shop. The cap is designed to be a conversation starter about myeloma, both in the real world and in the digital world, with people asked to share selfies of themselves in the cap on their social media platforms.

The campaign has some well-known ambassadors who are ‘throwing their weight behind 38mate,’ including Keith Bradshaw, CEO of the South Australian Cricket Association, who is living with myeloma, and Aussie rockers Frankie J Holden and Wilbur Wilde, who are supporting the campaign in memory of fellow Aussie music legend, Jim Keays, who passed away from myeloma in 2014.

Steve Roach, CEO of Myeloma Australia, said the campaign came about in response to feedback received from the myeloma community.

“Almost every single person had not heard about myeloma until they or a loved one were diagnosed with it. This makes the journey of being diagnosed and coming to terms with the news that you’re living with an incurable cancer all the more difficult. It is our hope that by the end of May, many people who have heard about myeloma for the first time. We also want people to understand the lives and the stories behind the stats. 38 people – mates –  are diagnosed each week. That’s 38 lives, 38 families, 38 friendship groups,” said Steve.

Ray Pereira OAM, a Melbourne musician, percussionist, and composer, was diagnosed with myeloma in 2016 and is one of the myeloma community advocates who is sharing his story as part of 38mate.

“When I was first diagnosed with myeloma, I had no idea what this disease was and neither did any of my family or friends. In fact, most people thought that I had melanoma. I’ve handled the treatment reasonably well and apart from some issues with my knees and having to push through fatigue on some days, I feel fine, exercise regularly and continue my work as a professional musician. Help us spread the word so that people know about myeloma before they or their loved ones are diagnosed with it,” said Ray.

Myeloma Australia is also running a series of online seminars about myeloma during National Myeloma Month.

For interview opportunities

Steve Roach, CEO of Myeloma Australia, is available for interview.

A number of 38mate myeloma community advocates, including Ray Pereira, are also available for interview.

Images of Ray Pereira, Steve Roach and the other community advocates can be provided high-res.

For media enquiries please contact Olivia Myeza on 0401 429 970.