Why support of Light The Night is ‘at the heart of Bristol Myers Squibb’

New Corporate Walk Chair gears up for another standout year

July 20, 2021

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his year, Bristol Myers Squibb will once again work together with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to support Light The Night®, an event where blood cancer survivors and supporters join together in walks to raise funds for research, advocacy and patient services. During the walks, participants carry colored lanterns that represent their connection to blood cancers and the organization’s goal of “bringing light to the darkness of cancer.”

Winselow Tucker and Trish Wetzel

Winselow Tucker, senior vice president, general manager of U.S. Hematology, served as the Light The Night Corporate Walk Chair in 2019 and 2020. Trish Wetzel, vice president of U.S. Cell Therapy Account Management is the Light The Night Corporate Walk Chair for 2021.

Last year, the Bristol Myers Squibb team raised nearly $860,000 for the blood cancer community, even as the walks were converted to virtual events for the safety of participants. A record number of employees came together to participate in Light The Night under the leadership of Winselow Tucker, senior vice president, general manager of U.S. Hematology, who served as Corporate Walk Chair in 2019 and 2020.

In 2021, Light The Night will offer both virtual and in-person options, and Tucker is passing the torch to a new Corporate Walk Chair.

“For the past two years, I’ve been honored to serve as the New Jersey Corporate Walk Chair, but it’s time to let another leader take the reins,” said Tucker. “It’s with great enthusiasm that I introduce Trish Wetzel, vice president of U.S. Cell Therapy Account Management. Trish is an amazing leader, and I’m certain that she will bring our employee community together to make an impact on patients’ lives.”

Inspired to lead

Wetzel is driven to succeed in the role by both her dedication to Bristol Myers Squibb’s mission, as well as a personal connection to blood cancers. For the past four years, she has witnessed close family friends struggle with their son Drew’s diagnosis of a rare blood disease. Drew required a bone marrow transplant, and his sister Sarah was a match and eager donor.

Last year though, Sarah was also diagnosed with a rare blood cancer, and was herself the recipient of another donor’s gift. Today, Sarah is home from a 24-day stay at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where she completed a final round of chemotherapy, her cancer was eradicated, and she received her transplant.

“It was heart-wrenching to learn about Sarah’s cancer,” said Wetzel. “I felt so helpless. So when Winselow invited me to take on the chair of Light The Night, I jumped at the opportunity to support Sarah, Drew, their parents, and all those impacted by blood cancers. I’m so thrilled to do this and to be part of an incredible, passionate team.”

Working with passion and purpose

Wetzel has participated in past Light The Night events, and believes that participation has the potential to be a life-changing experience. Prior to the event, colleagues forge connections with each other and engage with people they never knew. Families undertake creative fundraising events that involve their entire communities. Wetzel describes the walk itself as a finale, a joining of family, patients, and colleagues, and the culmination of months of work. 

“Light The Night is such an emotional event. When you see those lanterns and see your family, friends, and colleagues walking together, it’s so powerful. At Bristol Myers Squibb, the patient is truly at the center of what we do, and we are living out our mission. Our mission is more than words on paper. Our support of the LLS is at the heart of Bristol Myers Squibb,” she said.

In 2021, Wetzel plans to lead Team Bristol Myer Squibb to another strong year of support for the LLS, while also raising awareness of Light The Night and the impact of blood cancers on patients and the community.

“I think back to Sarah and her family, and the darkest days they encountered. Cancer is horrific, but the work that the LLS does brings hope and light. I think hope is light, and light is hope. Together with the LLS, we will never stop working to bring that hope and light to families and caregivers.”