Founder, PMP PALS
After being diagnosed with PMP, Gabriella Graham found a great need for information and support for patients seeking treatment for this rare disease. In 1998 Gabriella and a cadre of nine other dedicated patients and caregivers in Holland, the United Kingdom, and the United States founded PMP Pals with the mission of offering references and referrals to PMP patients. From that time forward Gabriella grew PMP Pals into a global organization serving patients in 55 countries in 12 languages. The organization held annual conferences and Gabriella spoke at events across the country held by our surgeons. Gabriella and PMP Pals was recognized throughout the community of PMP surgeons, patients, and organizations as the preeminent global organization for patient advocacy and support.
Gabriella and PMP Pals gave new patients hope by providing practical information, positive support, and stories of life after diagnosis while remaining honest about the challenges of treatment. Gabriella asked that Pals not refer to the disease or its treatment with colloquialisms, and believed chat rooms didn’t offer the best support, as there was enough fear without them or the outdated information scattered across the internet. Gabriella believed pairing mentors and patients according to their demographics and treatment modalities was important, but believed Pals shouldn’t provide medical advice, as developing an individualized care plan was the responsibility of patients and our specialists.
Gabriella proved patients deserve care as long as they’re willing to fight because they can make contributions to the world long after their prognosis. Deemed inoperable many times, Gabriella fought for her own care and convinced many surgeons to operate on her throughout the years. During those years Gabriella demonstrated her gratitude by serving countless PMP patients by creating a website that consolidated information, with the distribution of handbooks to prepare them for surgery and recovery, and most importantly by pairing Pals and patients for emotional support. Truly, many long-term survivors of PMP owe their lives to Gabriella as she advocated for their care with our specialists. Gabriella was truly a remarkable example to all of us that there can be abundant life after diagnosis with PMP.
Gabriella Graham passed away peacefully on June 18, 2014, from complications from PMP with Pals by her side.