Subaru, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Blanketing Myeloma Patients with Love

Myeloma patient John Tyler of Conway accepts a blanket from Shane Haas, communications manager of Subaru of Little Rock

Myeloma patient John Tyler of Conway accepts a blanket from Shane Haas, communications manager of Subaru of Little Rock

| July 12, 2019 | Patients undergoing treatment at the UAMS Myeloma Center received throw blankets recently along with written messages of hope, courtesy of the Subaru Loves to Care initiative.

Six employees from the Subaru of Little Rock dealership — many of them with connections to cancer through their own loved ones — and the Arkansas division of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) visited the institute July 8 as part of the nationwide initiative. The Myeloma Center is part of the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute.

They delivered 80 throw blankets to share with patients in the eighth-floor and the fourth-floor infusion clinics. This gift marks the third year the dealership and LLS visited UAMS and shared blankets to spread love, hope and warmth to cancer patients and their families.

The employees also brought more than two dozen handwritten messages of support from the dealership’s customers and about a dozen arts and crafts kits for children.

Mike Wilson, general manager of Subaru of Little Rock, and Faith Gonzales, a campaign manager with LLS, led the charge.

“We are so thankful for the amazing work the UAMS Myeloma Center is doing,” Gonzales told the crowd gathered to receive the blankets.

“And we want your staff to know how grateful we are,” added Shane Haas, public relations manager for Subaru of Little Rock.

Subaru retailers in 542 locations in partnership with LLS delivered more than 43,000  blankets to patients across the nation through the Subaru Loves to Care initiative.

Frits van Rhee, M.D., Ph.D., thanked the visitors for their generosity.

“I think the blankets certainly provide physical support for our patients by keeping them warm and comfortable but it’s important to realize that they also provide psychological and emotional support in reminding them there are so many people out there who care about them and wish them well.” van Rhee said.

One of van Rhee’s patients, John Tyler of Conway, echoed the doctor’s sentiments a few minutes later when a smaller group visited him in fourth-floor infusion clinic to present him with one of the blue and white plaid blankets.

“There are a lot of people who will enjoy having these and being able to use them, either when they visit here or at home,” Tyler, 70, said.

“They are making big strides with the research and treatment of this disease,” he added of his treatment at UAMS.

When Tyler first arrived at the Myeloma Center after his diagnosis about a year ago, he had myeloma in 78% of his bone marrow and had to use a cane.

Since then, he has had two stem cell transplants and chemotherapy but even during the height of his treatment, his quality of life remained very good.

“I lost my hair but it has grown back and I never felt really sick, just very tired,” Tyler said.

“I played 18 holes of golf this past Friday,” he said.

“When I was diagnosed, my doctor in Conway said she could send me to the Mayo Clinic or some other place but the truth was that just 25 miles up the road in Little Rock UAMS had the best place in the world to be treated for this disease.”