Kathy Giusti – WOMAN of ACTION™

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A Celebration of Women™

is elated to Celebrate the Life of this power of example to our world,

a woman that is devoting her life to the betterment of others through her own foundation addressing issues and creating hope for all those suffering from ‘multiple myeloma’, an incurable blood cancer that threatens thousands every year.

It is difficult for someone who is going through a tough time to help someone else who is in need. Most often, he would think to herself, “How am I going to help that person if I’m suffering myself?  

Amazingly, there are some people who think very differently from most of us.  People like this woman, who did not stay at the side lines and watch the world pass by as she sulked down from her disease, have made a great impact in the lives of many.  Rising above her own experience and suffering, this woman chose the path of taking action to not only help herself; but, to help others in our world to Rise Above their own Sufferings.

 
 

 
 

WOMAN of ACTION™

 

KATHY GIUSTI PROFILE

 

Kathy Giusti

 
 
 
 
What does cancer look like?

kathy-and-kidsJudging from the way Kathy Giusti took on her diagnosis of multiple myeloma in 1996, cancer looks like a serious case of profound hope. Then ask this wife, mother, and former pharmaceutical executive to tell you the worst thing about cancer, and she’ll likely say, “not fighting back.”

Because Kathy Giusti did fight back, big-time.

She used her pre-med knowledge and her Harvard MBA to found the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). Then she used her experience working for pharmaceutical companies to circumvent the system and jump-start research to the tune of four anti-myeloma drugs approved in just four years, 20 clinical trials initiated, and drugs now being looked at for other cancers. Her goals are to find better treatments and, ultimately, a cure for this deadly blood cancer.

Here she shares some of what she has learned about life as an unlikely cancer survivor and activist.

When did your personal cancer journey begin?
It was early 1996. I had some vague symptoms, such as fatigue, and was fortunate that my doctor checked the protein level in my blood during a routine workup, which led to my diagnosis of multiple myeloma.

Like me, many patients with myeloma have vague or no symptoms or have symptoms that are commonly seen with many other conditions. In fact, it is not uncommon for myeloma patients to be diagnosed during a routine blood test like I was.

 
Kathy Giusti is the founder of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, a charitable organization that is devoted to helping patients suffering from multiple myeloma a currently-incurable blood cancer that threatens over fifty thousand people in the United States alone every year.

She started the foundation with her twin sister after she was diagnosed with the disease and found that there was no research at that time to combat the disease.
 

 
 
From its inception, the MMRF has raised over two hundred million dollars and is currently ‘the largest fund provider in the field of myeloma research‘.

And yes, while Kathy is occupied in serving others through her charitable foundation,  she is combating the disease herself. For over twelve years now, Kathy has been juggling with her life as a philanthropist, a business manager, but most of all, as a wife to her husband and as a mother to her two children.

What is amazing about this is that in spite of her disease, she seems to have never even had it by the way that she works. In fact, she spends most of her time visiting various hospitals and clinics, talking to patients and giving them encouragement that they can make it, and talking to various medical specialists about ways to improve the research to treat multiple myeloma.

Positive-thinking-exercisesTwo things can be said regarding Kathy’s attitude that makes her very extraordinary: “persistent” and “positive”. Most of us, if placed in her situation, would easily be discouraged and let ourselves be taken over by despair and depression – but not Kathy.

It was inconvenient, but she saw the sickness as a challenge for her to do something great not just for herself, but for others as well. And in spite of the great fog of uncertainty that clouded her future, she bravely travelled through the rough and turbulent streams of life, firmly believing that at some point, she was going to see the silver lining and make it through.

And she did.

Not just because of her attitude and outlook in life, but also because of her leadership and marketing skills. Kathy has a remarkable way of connecting to people and making friends that she is able to get your attention and listen to her. Because of this, she made so many connections that proved to be very helpful in her time of need. In fact, one of the major reasons why the MMRF has been so successful all these years is because of Kathy’s expertise in business and marketing.

Kathy’s life is a very inspiring story to many of us who may be going through some tough situations in life and we start thinking that life is over. It’s like God telling us to always move forward, believe and hope that things will always get better. Like Kathy, may we be able to say one day, that after we have passed through our trials that our test has become a testimony.

kathy-karen-aboutThe Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was spearheaded by Kathy Giusti and her identical twin sister Karen Andrews. In 1998, Kathy, a graduate of Harvard Business School and a pharmaceutical executive, teamed up with Karen, a corporate attorney, to found the MMRF.

When Kathy was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, she and Karen founded the MMRF with the principle focus of funding transformative research as a catalyst in the development of progressive, life-extending treatments that multiple myeloma patients so urgently needed. Leveraging her past business experience, Kathy, as Chief Executive Officer, applied her business savvy to the science of cancer research and changed the culture of the traditional not-for-profit model. Kathy and Karen optimized the MMRF to run like a Fortune 500 company, with a culture of speed, innovation, and results.

One of the largest hurdles was that scientific teams all over the world were failing to communicate and engage in data exchange. Compounding these failures, the rare and heterogeneous nature of multiple myeloma made it difficult for a single center to enroll enough patients or collect enough tissue samples to properly complete a robust clinical trial.

kathy slide1For several years, Kathy worked alongside the multiple myeloma community to design, execute, and fund groundbreaking collaborative research initiatives that revolutionized clinical research methods and created new opportunities for effective treatments.

MMRC_LOGO_CMYKThe MMRF research initiatives include the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium, the MMRC Tissue Bank, the Multiple Myeloma Genomics Initiative (MMGI), and the Multiple Myeloma Personalized Medicine Initiative (MMPI).

Committed to maximizing the patient-impact of these models, Kathy has shared her approach with many research organizations that are pursuing treatment advances for a number of cancers and other devastating diseases.

The MMRF has played a key role in the progress made against multiple myeloma. Today, as a result, there are a multitude of new drugs available that have more than doubled life expectancy for patients.

Kathy’s visionary leadership of the MMRF has earned her many distinguished recognition. Most recently, she was named to TIME magazine’s 2011 list of the World’s 100 Most Influential People. She has also received a number of other honors, including the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) Partners in Progress Award, the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Centennial Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the Harvard Business School Alumni Achievement Award, and the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association’s Woman of the Year Award.

Learn more about the MMRF’s founding mission:
Healthcare Entrepreneur Kathy Giusti Addresses MBA Class of 2011
Harvard Business School Class Day, 2011
Kathy Giusti Keynote Speaker at WBL Summit
Women Business Leaders (WBL) Annual Summit, 2011
More Kathy Giusti – Mission Critical: Improving Cancer Research
PharmaVOICE, July/August 2009
Life Triumphant
New Canaan – Darien Magazine, 2008
“Fighting to the End”
CNNMoney.com, 2008
Buying A Cure: What business know-how can do for disease
The New Yorker, 2008
An Emissary for Patients
PharmaVoice, 2007
Two Sisters versus Cancer
Glamour Magazine, 2006
Patients With Rare Disease Work to Jump-Start Research
Wall Street Journal, 2006

 
HURRICANES will not stop this woman !!!
 
kathyThe threat of Hurricane Sandy didn’t stop a bevy of stars from coming to Greenwich Saturday to attend the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation annual fall gala.

Held at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich, the event honored legendary music producer and five-time Grammy Award-winner Clive Davis, and featured performances by former “American Idol” contestant and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, and Jermaine Paul, winner of the second season of NBC’s “The Voice.”

Despite the threat of Sandy, the event drew more than 1,200 attendees, and Kathy Giusti, who launched the foundation in 1998 after she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, said it was expected to raise more than $2 million, the Greenwich Time reported.

 
In closing, here is what Kathy has to say in Kathy’s ‘Quest for a Cure’
 

 
 

FIND KATHY HERE:

Facebook – The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation – MMRF

TWITTER – @theMMRF
TWITTER – @KathyGiusti

YOUTUBE – MMRF

Nominated by: The Xtraordinary – Kathy Giusti

Cancer Can’t Stop Me, PARADE.COM

 
 
 
 
 

A Celebration of Women™

welcomes this inspired and progressive thinker into our Alumni with open arms, and look forward to collaboration helping the women of our world, for the betterment of lives through Positive Action.

 
roses lavendar
 

Brava Kathy!

 
 

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