As many of you know, it’s been seven and a half years now since I was diagnosed with active multiple myeloma, a relatively rare form of blood cancer. While the excellent treatment I receive at the Ottawa Hospital has kept my cancer under control, the COVID pandemic has made our lives (like everyone else's) much more challenging. Although the vaccination rate in Ottawa is quite high, and new cases are currently low, the presence of new variants and the possibility of a 4th wave has led us to make this year's event another "virtual walk".
Thanks to your generosity, last year's event was very successful, and the funds we raised supported research into mechanisms of how immunotherapy works - why it works well for some patients and is not as effective or long lasting for others. This is of particular interest to me, since this is the type of treatment I am currently on since my cancer relapsed in 2019 - and it is working well so far! The results of this initial study have been submitted for publication which should benefit the wider Myeloma patient community.
In addition to continuing this research, the funds we raise this year will support the Ottawa Hospital Foundation and Myeloma Canada and be used to determine how much protection Myeloma and other immune compromised patients have from vaccination against COVID-19 and other variants. This helps both Myeloma patients and our medical teams of doctors and nurses who have gone to exceptional measures to take good care of us during the pandemic.
Our annual fundraising event, to increase awareness about Myeloma, support the development of new game changing treatment options, and ultimately find a cure, officially takes place on September 26th. You (and your family, friends and associates) are invited to join us "virtually" by walking whatever distance you are comfortable with on or before September 26th, make a donation to Stepstoacure if you can, or simply send us a message of support - it all helps!
To make a donation and support Team Shepherd, please go to www.stepstoacure.ca . If you are walking in groups with family or friends, please follow recommended safe practices to minimize the risks of infections.
Thanks for your consideration and support, and making Myeloma matter,
I'm at 71 km of 100 km.