Last summer’s Vancouver Island Multiple Myeloma March at Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park. (Photo submitted)

Community asked to take steps toward a cure at myeloma march

Vancouver Island Multiple Myeloma March is this Monday, Sept.2, at Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park

Myeloma treatment options are increasing “exponentially,” and investments in research are more important than ever as doctors come closer to finding a cure, say advocates.

The second annual Vancouver Island Multiple Myeloma March is happening this Monday, Sept. 2, at Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park.

Multiple myeloma, also known as myeloma, is the second most common form of blood cancer, according to Myeloma Canada, and is incurable.

“Thanks to major strides in research, not only has quality of life improved but we’re encouraged to say that life expectancies have more than doubled in the past 15 years and this is continuing on an upward trend,” said Dr. Adrian Yee, with the BCCA Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, in a press release. “We’re now seeing incredibly promising treatment options that are helping us to stay ahead of the disease … For the first time, we can actually say that we’re getting closer to finding a cure. Investing in research is critical, which is why raising funds is more important than ever.”

Nanaimo’s Allison Jennings and Susan McLean, organizers of the local walk, have each undergone stem cell transplants as part of their treatment and are both in full remission. Jennings is the founder of the Nanaimo Multiple Myeloma Support Group and McLean is on Myeloma Canada’s patient advisory council.

“I’m so lucky to be feeling really good right now, so it’s a good time for me to give back,” McLean said in the release. “All of the money raised from our march goes to support patient advocacy and research.”

The five-kilometre walk starts at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 2 at the park’s Lions Pavilion.

Martine Elias, executive director of Myeloma Canada, said in the release that the march is essential to community-building and fundraising.

“Through the march, those whose lives have been touched by myeloma get to meet and connect with one another while raising funds for advancing critical clinical research,” she said. “Each step taken is one that brings us closer to finding a cure.”

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