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Welcome to My IRONMAN Fundraising Page

Robert Caskey

Robert Caskey

Two years ago, during the final months of my residency in General Surgery, and after months of recurrent viral infections, I had an MRI performed for what had progressively become debilitating left shoulder pain. And just like that I went from doctor to multiple myeloma patient.

For those who don't know, multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that affects the plasma cells, the cells in your body that make antibodies. Eventually, these cells cause damage all throughout the body ranging from severe bone damage to kidney damage from all the built up abnormal antibodies. On top of all of this, because the immune system is affected, multiple myeloma patients are very susceptible to infection.

Multiple myeloma does not receive the same amount of attention as some other cancers. However, it is the second most common form of all blood cancers and unfortunately, has one of the lowest five-year relative survival rates of all cancers. But while there is no cure, great progress is being made. And I am a testament to this progress. In my case, I was found to have multiple plasmacytomas (destructive bone lesions) in my left clavicle, shoulder blade, upper arm and ribs. However, I was fortunate not to have evidence of other damage to my body such as kidney damage. Today, after 13 months of chemotherapy in a clinical trial, an autologous (from my own body) stem cell transplant, and permanently ongoing suppressive chemotherapy, I am in what can best be described as a state of remission, even though there is no such thing for multiple myeloma. As for all myeloma patients, one day it will return. I still face many future treatments but what they will be and when I will need them is unknown and will depend on ongoing and future research into multiple myeloma-such as that supported by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF).

The MMRF is the world's leading private funder of myeloma research and thanks to the MMRF 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 literally TRIPLED the lifespan of myeloma patients such as myself. The MMRF is also 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 (the highest rating possible).

Every year the MMRF sponsors multiple endurance fundraising events. This year, on July 22nd, 2018, its signature event is at IRONMAN Lake Placid. I have wanted to participate in triathlons ever since I was a sophomore in college and for the past 9 months, after recovering from my stem cell transplant, I have finally done it. However, I have yet to attempt the ultimate triathlon, the Iron distance, consisting of 2.4 miles of swimming 112 miles of biking and 26.2 miles of running. When I saw that MMRF had an IRONMAN and that it was also on my birthday, how could I not do it?!

But why am I REALLY doing this? Simple. By raising money for myeloma research while making sure I stay as healthy as physically possible, it will help me meet my goal of seeing a cure for multiple myeloma in my lifetime. There is no doubt that I am healthy today because of drugs and treatment strategies that have been developed because of the MMRF and because of the amazing care I have received at the University of Pennsylvania. I want to use this health, for as long as I have it, to help others and ultimately see the end of multiple myeloma.

Please support my participation in IRONMAN Lake Placid benefiting the MMRF. I have made a commitment to raise at least $5,000, and I need your help to get there. Please contribute whatever you can. It all adds up!


Robert

Comments

$12,240
raised of $5,000 goal
 

Donations

$200.00
1. ?Anonymous
$50.00
2. JMJennifer Mcgrail
3. uu/Kendallsan
On behalf of David Machado, in support of his brother.
$50.00
4. DGDonal Gormley
Well done Robert. Amazing achievement. Donal& Roisin.
5. TToni and Ed Manning
6. JJanie and Kenny Robbins

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