On Sunday morning, the third annual Regina Multiple Myeloma March took place virtually. Regina’s march is just one of 32 events happening across the country.
This year, the flagship fundraiser aims to raise $600,000 nationally. Just like last year, this year’s five km walk/run had to be modified due to COVID-19.
Participants were encouraged to hold their own walk in their neighbourhood at the same time as the regular event.
Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer. Every day, nine new Canadians are diagnosed with myeloma, according to Myeloma Canada.
Myeloma affects a type of immune cell called the plasma cell, found in the bone marrow. Despite its growing prevalence, it remains largely unknown.
One of the local participants of the march, Patti Schmidt, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, also known as myeloma, in 2018 after experiencing persisting symptoms such as headaches and chronic tiredness.
Schmidt began extensive chemotherapy treatments a month after her diagnosis in preparation for a stem cell transplant. The hope was that the procedure would put her myeloma into remission.
New Brunswick myeloma survivor helps to raise money for cure
In April 2019, Schmidt was able to have the procedure and the myeloma is in partial remission.
Ever since then, she has been receiving chemotherapy treatments every two weeks to help keep the cancer in check.
Schmidt said her experience with the disease has pushed her to do what she can in order to help researchers find a cure.
“Myeloma is not curable, it’s treatable for periods of time, but you know you’re going to relapse, you know that at some point in time you’re going to have to try something else or get another cell transplant,” Schmidt said.
“The life expectancy was three to five years, but we know it’s getting better,” she added.
Although there is no cure, Schmidt said people with myeloma are living longer and better lives thanks to recent breakthroughs in treatment.
Ever since her diagnosis, Schmidt has had six grandchildren. She said her family and friends are what keep her going.
“I want to be here for them and nor do I want to be the one that is sick, I want to be there for my family, and that’s really been my inspiration,” she said.
“I have a tremendous group of supporters who have always been there for me. When they’re there for me, I want to be there for them as well,” Schmidt added.
Another thought that keeps her going is realizing that there are people with myeloma who aren’t as fortunate as her, since the cancer can affect individuals differently in varying stages.
“When I’m well enough, I feel a personal responsibility to bring awareness to this disease,” Schmidt stated.
“It’s relatively unknown, a lot of people have never even heard of myeloma, although it is a fairly common blood cancer.”
Schmidt and her fellow marchers set a goal to raise $15,000 to help further research efforts on multiple myeloma.
Those interested in donating to research efforts, still have another month to do so at myeloma.ca.
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