Jerry is a 33-year Navy veteran (6 enlisted/28 officer) who retired from active duty in 1998. He then taught Math for nine years in Virginia public schools. He lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
Diagnosed with multiple myeloma in August, 2006, he attended an International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) Patient & Family Seminar in March of 2007 in Houston. The valuable and motivating experience of that IMF seminar, including exposure to the kindred spirit of Texas myeloma support group members, inspired him to start the Southeastern Virginia Multiple Myeloma Support Group a few months later with the help of the IMF. (www.seva.myeloma.org) Currently, Jerry’s myeloma is in the smoldering stage. In July, 2008, he had surgery for prostate cancer.
Jerry initiated the idea of having a Veterans Against Myeloma (VAM) website to support the IMF’s efforts in fighting the disease and to help educate veteran patients and caregivers impacted by myeloma. He initially suggested a Navy-vet focus, because Norfolk and Virginia Beach are “fleet towns.” As he further developed the concept with the IMF, it appropriately grew into an all-service vet effort, as myeloma knows us all.
Jerry is excited about the VAM website’s potential as a helpful forum for myeloma veterans. As he says, it provides the opportunity for vets to learn from one another by telling their stories. It also has links to veteran fraternal organizations whose national service officers can provide valuable assistance in applying for Veterans Administration (VA) disability, and to other useful VA and vet-related websites. In addition, the site links vets to key myeloma-related info available via the International Myeloma Foundation website (www.myeloma.org).
Through its Black Swan Initiative and the International Myeloma Working Group, the IMF also helps to fund, guide and assist worldwide medical and scientific efforts to find a cure for myeloma; i.e., to win the battle.
Jerry is hopeful myeloma veterans will tell their story on the VAM website and by so doing will inspire other vets to do likewise and join the team. He’s also hopeful visitors to the VAM website will join the fight by considering making a general donation or a donation in honor of a particular veteran in support of IMF’s effort to find a cure and to educate all affected by myeloma.
Jerry’s wife Lindsay is a recently retired nurse. His son Jonathan lives in Virginia Beach and is a Virginia State Park Ranger. His son Michael and his wife Sharnail live in North Carolina where he is attending graduate school at North Carolina State University.