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Community members in Nanaimo will walk for awareness of rare blood cancer

Multiple Myeloma March takes place Sept. 5 at Maffeo Sutton Park
Susan McLean, second from left, and her friends partaking in the Multiple Myeloma March in 2021. (Submitted photo)

A Nanaimo woman previously diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer and others are targeting a goal of $35,000 for a fundraising walk next week.

Susan McLean will be among those at the Vancouver Island Multiple Myeloma March at Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park on Monday, Sept. 5.

According to a press release, McLean, president of the B.C. Teachers of English Language Arts, discovered she had the disease after suffering six compression fractures in her back after lifting a heavy piece of luggage in 2016. She couldn’t heal from the injury and “the pain became increasingly unbearable,” the press release said.

“Because some myeloma symptoms – fatigue, pain, fractures – are common to many disorders, it often takes a long time to get diagnosed,” McLean said. “People need to know that myeloma exists and recognize the symptoms. They need to keep asking questions until they get answers for why they aren’t feeling well.”

Every day, 11 Canadians are diagnosed with myeloma, stated the press release, and it is the second-most common form of blood cancer, despite being relatively unknown. The reality is, the number of Canadians with the disease is increasing every year, highlighting the need for money for “life-saving treatments and care, the press release said.

McLean said she is grateful to her doctor for taking her concerns seriously, continuing to investigate why she wasn’t feeling well before myeloma reached a stage where treatment is limited.

“It’s very important that myeloma patients get diagnosed as soon as possible to nip the cancer in the bud and start treatments before it’s too late,” she said in the press release. “To do this, they need access to life-saving treatments and care.”

McLean underwent a stem cell transplant as part of her myeloma treatment and has been in remission for five years and is a dedicated Myeloma Canada volunteer, the press release noted.

The goal for the Vancouver Island walk is $35,000, while the national objective is $750,000.

Registration for the Sept. 5 event in Nanaimo begins at 9 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m. For more information, go to

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