Dear Friends and Family,
I will be participating in the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program in May 2017 by hiking the Grand Canyon to raise funds and awareness for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Team For Cures.
The work ahead of me? Hike into and out of the Grand Canyon via the Bright Angel Trail and raise money and awareness about Multiple myeloma. With over 4,300 feet of vertical hiking down (and then UP) completed in one day, this trek also adds the obstacle of altitude and temperature change. While it might be a comfortable 75 degrees at the top of the rim at the 7 AM departure, we will encounter heat reaching 100+ degrees in the depths of the canyon. Training for this event is a big challenge, and I'm on it, but this is nothing compared to the challenges faced by patients with multiple myeloma.
Part of the research in my lab has been in the Multiple Myeloma field for several years, focusing on cancer stem cells. While there are many new, effective therapies that can induce remission, most Multiple Myeloma (MM) patients relapse, leading to the hypothesis that a chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cell (CSC) remains dormant until a time when it wakes up to to reestablish disease. MM outcomes lag behind those for other blood cancers, and one main difference for this disparity is the lack of MM treatments aimed at the CSC. This is the focus on my work. When I learned that one of my best friends, Catherine Sloane, had just been diagnosed with MM, I felt that this was a personal challenge to me: I needed to work faster and better. I needed to spread the word even more widely to get people motivated to help us deal with this disease. Catherine is my muse and I am committed to help her stay healthy.
Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and, sadly, has one of the lowest five-year relative survival rates of all cancers. But while there is no cure, great progress is being made.
One of my personal goals is to get people to think about cancer more freely and with less fear. Cancer is a part of life and thanks to research, more people are living longer than ever before. I am an advocate for the power of research to transform disease.
I wanted to take on this challenge with Catherine. When she was diagnosed, it was scary and it was hard to see past the "now". Catherine has been cancer free for several years, is an amazing mother, lawyer, friend and advocate. We want to show our community and the community at large that this disease is not going to slow us down.
In fact, thanks to the important work of the MMRF, the world's leading private funder of myeloma research, the FDA has approved TEN new treatments, including FOUR in just the past 18 months – a track record that's unparalleled in the world of oncology. These drugs have tripled the lifespan of myeloma patients after diagnosis. And now the MMRF is funding over 20 additional treatments in various stages of development, giving hope to tens of thousands of patients and their families.
The Goal: Raise money so that the MMRF's life-extending cancer research can continue full speed.
The MMRF is one of the most highly regarded cancer foundations in the world. An outstanding 90% of the total MMRF budget goes directly towards research and related programming. And the MMRF is in the top 1% of all charities, having earned Charity Navigator’s 4-star rating for the past eleven years in a row.
Please support my participation in the Grand Canyon Trek benefiting the MMRF. Please contribute whatever you can. It all adds up!
Please take this opportunity to give back and support this game-changing cancer organization.
**Want to double your impact? Inquire if your company matches your charitable donations and submit your donation information through your company's portal or HR to receive a match! Forward me your confirmation email and I can get your match added to my fundraising total!