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.”