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Paul Kleutghen

Paul Kleutghen

Dear Friends and Family,

It has already been over five years now since I was given the diagnosis of primary plasma cell leukemia at Duke. pPCL is the most aggressive variant of Multiple Myeloma (MM). Only between 140-170 patients per year are given this news in the US. The original outlook was grim, but I'm +4 years past my original projected 'expiration date' now and have so much to be grateful for. In May I celebrated the 5-year anniversary of my first stem cell transplant, and I just celebrated the 5-year milestone of my second stem cell transplant.

I couldn't have made it without the help of my team from the Duke Department of Cellular Therapy, especially Dr. Cristina Gasparetto, and all the super staff both at Duke and the Zimmer Cancer Center in Wilmington, NC. support from friends (especially my 'airport buddy' and past colleagues) and family (especially Skip and Eli who always made me laugh, and Joyce, my favorite Mother in Law). More than a few 'fat' candles have been lit in the parish church of Bree, Belgium, to also help things along.

Most of all, however, has been the help of Vicki - my very best friend since 1971 and travel companion in married life since 1977. When Dr. T gave me an initial prognosis of 8-11 months to live, Vicki just said "We reject that prognosis !" and, then, I knew that my work was cut out for me. V has been there every step of the way, especially when things looked pretty rough in those early days. I couldn't have done it without her continued push (sometimes gentle, sometimes not so) and care. Family has given Vicki the honorific of 'The Warden'. Only partly in jest, it seems.

There is no cure yet for either MM or PCL, but still, we are ready to celebrate these important five-year marks. I have been accepted to participate in the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program in November 2019 by trekking through Patagonia in Argentina and raise funds and awareness for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Team For Cures. Patagonia, also known as 'The wild place at the end of the world', is a very appropriate location to celebrate a wild journey, with ups and downs. In hindsight, the journey has mostly come with ups - though we may not always have understood or appreciated that at times.

The work ahead of me? Trek for nearly 10 days through valleys, peaks, and over glaciers, and raise at least $20,000 for the MMRF. I have started a 16-week training program to gradually build up strength and endurance.Training for this event is rigorous and a big challenge, but nothing compared to the challenges faced by patients with multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer with 30,000 new patients diagnosed per year in the US. Sadly, MM has one of the lowest five-year relative survival rates of all cancers. The statistics for PCL are worse. But while there is no cure, yet, great progress is being made.

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 24 months – a track record that's unparalleled in the world of oncology. These drugs have tripled the lifespan of myeloma patients after diagnosis - though not yet for pPCL patients. 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. This past December, the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) wrapped up. Several groundbreaking studies, funded by MMRF, have been showcased at ASH 2018. Additional studies, funded by MMRF, have recently been presented at the annual conference of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO), as well as at hematology/oncology conferences in Europe. The CoMPASS patient data base, established by MMRF a few years ago, is already paying dividends in improved understanding of which treatments work better, or best, given a patient's genetic myeloma disease profile. This is a major step forward in true targeted disease management to continually improve treatment outcomes.

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 Patagonia Trek benefiting the MMRF. I have made a commitment to raise at least $20,000 for the life-extending research of the MMRF. I need your help to get there. Please contribute whatever you can. It all adds up! Vicki and I will match all donations dollar for dollar to double the impact of your donation.

You have helped to get me to the latest important five-year mark. Will you also help me to walk to the 'Wild place at the end of World' and support this game changing cancer research organization and help move another mountain for my fellow patients ?

Paul & Vicki

**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!


raised of $20,000 goal


1. TThe Fosters
So proud of you Paul! Sending love from Albuquerque!
2. VKVicki Kleutghen
Matching donation for Debbie Russell and Paul's "Airport buddy" & Miss Laura. Many thanks to all ! F&L : couldn't have done things without your help and kindness 5 1/2 years ago … you guys are the BEST !
3. AAirport Buddy
It has been a great 5 years! Five years ago you were facing a very different reality, what a fabulous milestone. I am so pleased Ms Vicki and you have not let this speed bump, slow down your travels. As always I will stay tuned in for the next Kleutghen adventure. Cherish Patagonia. Looking forward to our next shared meal.
4. DRDebra Russell
Good luck on your journey. I will have my 2 year Re-Birthday Oct. 3 2019. I am a patient at CCC at WFMC in Winston.
5. MMatching Gift - Kleutghen
6. MMatching Gift - Quier

moving mountains for multiple myeloma partners