Patients, caregivers, myeloma doctors and nurses and myeloma loved ones take on challenging mountains – Mount Kilimanjaro, the Grand Canyon and Peru’s Machu Picchu – to demonstrate that the advancements being made in recent years, funded and spearheaded by the MMRF, are helping patients live longer with a higher quality of life than ever before.
In January 2016, a team of 15 MMRF supporters, which included four myeloma patients and a myeloma doctor, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free standing mountain in the world. This team raised close to $250,000, with all proceeds going to the MMRF to accelerate research for next generation treatments.
On May 12, 2016, a team of 13 hikers took on the challenging Bright Angel Trail in the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. Three myeloma patients, a nurse who treats myeloma patients, caregivers and others who are directly connected to myeloma made up the team.
Beginning August 9, 2016, a team of 22 will begin their journey to Peru’s incredible Machu Picchu, via the Inca Trail. This trek will include four myeloma patients, a myeloma doctor, and four myeloma nurses, in addition to loved ones who climb to honor a patient who is living or who has lost their battle with this difficult disease.
Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the blood that carries only a 46.6 percent chance of survival beyond five years, according to the National Cancer Institute. While great progress has been made in recent years to develop novel treatments, continued research funding is needed to get to the ultimate goal: a cure.
“There is nothing more powerful than working together with multiple myeloma patients, doctors and nurses, caregivers and partners like Takeda Oncology and CURE toward a common goal,” says Alicia O’Neill, a climber for the MM4MM program and an MMRF executive. “Pushing beyond perceived limits, working together with our dedicated partners, moving into action to demonstrate — through our physical feats — that we can be a source of funding and of inspiration is at the core of why we are climbing.”
When those touched by myeloma see patients taking on these incredible feats, we hope that they are inspired. While not every patient can dream of summiting the 19,341-foot peak in Africa, we hope our efforts and accomplishments serve as inspiration that we are stronger than we know and can be a positive part of the work that is being done to extend lives as we get closer to a cure.
Kilimanjaro climber and multiple myeloma patient Bod Dickey, of Shell Beach, California, says, “For me, Mount Kilimanjaro was validation that multiple myeloma is not the end. The climb illustrates to patients and caregivers that multiple myeloma offers us an opportunity, if not a requirement, to press harder.”
Takeda Oncology and CURE are proud supporters of the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma Program.
Here is a video of the recent Grand Canyon hike. So powerful and moving.