Cannes Lions

Multiple Myeloma Told True - Oya's Story

EVOKE PHILADELPHIA, Philadelphia / PFIZER / 2023

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People living with multiple myeloma find themselves in a never-ending cycle of remissions and relapses. Because few people understand the true nature of this disease, those coping with it feel isolated. As a result, patients struggle to find the right words that truly convey their experience.

We needed to provide patients with a way to better express themselves. By bringing their authentic experiences to light, other people living with this rare cancer would feel seen and heard. And knowing that multiple myeloma is a uniquely relentless cancer, we also needed to provide patients with information that felt relevant to their experience.


Oya had to fight for his diagnosis of multiple myeloma after having his symptoms dismissed for over a year. When he meets Jae—a spoken-word poet—they immediately connect over the struggles that Black people face in the healthcare system.

After their conversation, Jae works to develop and rehearse a poem that amplifies Oya’s unique experience. Two weeks later, they meet again for a surprise reveal of her performance in front of Oya’s closest family and friends.

Jae’s performance moves the audience. By giving words to what Oya cannot, she manages to capture the inequity he faced in the past alongside his hope for the future. When reflecting on his experience, Oya wants his story to help those who find themselves in a similar situation.


Multiple Myeloma Told True launched in March 2023 to coincide with Myeloma Awareness Month. To create broad awareness of the campaign, one pair of the patients and artists featured on Multiple Myeloma Told True embarked on a media tour to share their experiences with several local news outlets across the country.

The results of that tour were greater than we could have expected; the interviews aired over 1100 times in the first month alone, reaching over 46 million people. Additionally, audio excerpts from the interviews were broadcast by 177 radio affiliates across the country, resulting in another 20 million listeners in major markets.

By bringing these stories out into the world, we were able to increase visibility for multiple myeloma and helped foster a greater sense of community among those living with this rare and devastating disease.

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