2nd annual Myeloma march
Okanagan Edge Staff - Aug 31 - Get Involved

Image: Myeloma Canada Facebook

The second edition of the Kelowna Multiple Myeloma March, Myeloma Canada’s signature fundraiser, will be held Sept. 10 at Kerry Park.

Myeloma survivor Ron Surry will lead the five-kilometre walk/run, which raises funds and awareness about multiple myeloma, an incurable form of cancer affecting the plasma cells in the bone marrow.

When Ron Surry was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2014, he sprung into action.

“People didn’t know what multiple myeloma was — they thought it was skin cancer when it is actually blood cancer,” he recalls. “I wanted to raise awareness in my community.”

Now a three-year survivor, Surry started support groups for patients, caregivers, and their families in Kelowna and Enderby. He also spearheaded the province’s first two Multiple Myeloma Marches in 2016.

Myeloma Canada is a non-profit charitable organization created by and for people living with multiple myeloma. Since last year, Myeloma Canada has dedicated funds raised through its Multiple Myeloma March to the Myeloma Canada Research Network (MCRN), a platform which brings together world-class myeloma researchers in 24 centres across nine provinces.

The MCRN develops and supports Canadian designed clinical trials nationwide, and collects data for its national database.

“The MCRN, which was born out of a patient organization, has become indispensable to doing good quality research that is not primarily industry driven,” says Dr. Greg Dueck of the BC Cancer Agency for the Southern Interior. “Patients living with multiple myeloma often go through multiple standard therapies, which is why offering accelerated access to innovative; and in some cases, breakthrough, treatment options not currently reimbursed by any public health plan in Canada is so crucial.”

Every day, seven Canadians are diagnosed with multiple myeloma with an average diagnosis in the mid-sixties. “Despite a growing prevalence, myeloma remains relatively unknown,” says Aldo Del Col, Co-founder and Chairman, Myeloma Canada. “This is why there is an even greater need for early awareness programs to promote timely diagnosis.”

The Multiple Myeloma March will be held during the month of September in 17 communities across the country. Despite his own mobility issues caused by the disease, Surry is excited to lead the March for a second year.

“Some patients become housebound because of multiple myeloma,” he explains. “A march is the perfect occasion to get out there. It brings us together, like a family.”

The second annual Kelowna Multiple Myeloma March will take place Sept. 10, at 11:30 a.m. at Kerry Park (1480 Mill Street). Last year the March raised $5,000. This year, organizers have set the fundraising goal at $15,000.

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