The Waldenstrom’s Weekly

April 15, 2022

Volume 2, Issue 14

The International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF) is dedicated to supporting and educating everyone affected by WM while advancing the search for a cure. The IWMF provides access to The Waldenstrom’s Weekly as a free service to WM community members to share WM related news and events. For more information, please contact

Julie Richardson-
A Mother’s Story

March 13, 2020. A Friday the 13th I will never forget.

Julie Richardson

On the one hand, it would turn out to be my then twelve year-old daughter’s last day
of in-person school for fifteen months.COVID-19 had arrived, and was spreading quickly.

On the other hand, I barely remember the havoc the virus was creating, because it’s also the day I met my medical oncologist and heard, “This is cancer,” for the first time.

It took another two weeks of extensive testing to narrow it down to Waldenstrom’s. I was alone for all of it. COVID-19 protocols meant guests were not allowed to visit and hospitals were rearranged in anticipation of an influx of virus patients. It was all very surreal. But I remember kind hospital workers and compassionate nurses. And I remember frantic research on my iPhone as I sat in waiting rooms and exam rooms, learning words and phrases like “immunoglobulin M,” and “kappa lambda ratios.”

The world was tilting into chaos, but all I remember is feeling as if my body was betraying me.

I am a single mother to an insightful, compassionate, and fiercely resilient fifteen year-old. Her name is Maddy. And, when my oncologist said, “cancer,” I took a deep breath and looked him square in his dark, caring, thoughtful eyes, and I said, “I am a single mother, my daughter is in middle school, and I need you to make sure that I am able to see her to adulthood.”

He paused. Took a breath. And then slowly nodded his head and said, “Okay.”

I know now that it is far more likely I’d die prematurely from any number of other things than Waldenstrom’s. Thanks to the relentless work of so many brilliant and determined researchers, advocates, and doctors, treatment options improve every year. And this is in large part thanks to the incredible work of the IWMF. The team at the IWMF is committed to Waldenstrom’s care at every level–peer support, education, real-time webinars with top experts, and, eventually, a cure.

Yes. One day…a cure.

IWMF cannot do what it does without the generosity of its donors. It is no exaggeration to say that a gift to IWMF is, in fact, lifesaving. I have every intention of seeing Maddy well into adulthood, and I will do so with a heart grateful for IWMF’s work –

and so it would mean a great deal to us both if you’d consider a generous gift to IWMF.


IWMF Support Groups

IWMF Support Groups

The IWMF U.S. Support Groups offer information, education, mutual support and the opportunity to connect with others affected by WM, including patients, family members and caregivers. When attending a peer-led meeting, you will meet others who share your rare diagnosis as you build a strong network of local, supportive, fellow WMers. For support groups in Canada, please check out the WMFC website calendar HERE, and for international meetings, please contact our International Affiliates listed HERE.

Check out upcoming support groups on the IWMF website. Click the button below to view the calendar.


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