Watch this space to meet your fellow team mates and learn more about why they are committed to raising funds for Multiple Myeloma Research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. If you are interested in sharing your story please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Week of June 8th
June 11th, 2015
by Kat Aptekar
Participant Bruce Plummer Sets $24,000 Fundraising Goal and Will Not Settle Till He Reaches It
Journey to Conquer Cancer: Setting the ultimate challenge to raise funds toward a cure
Participant Bruce Plummer sets $24,000 fundraising goal and will not settle till he reaches it
“Why do I walk? That’s an easy question, it’s because I can!”
These are the words of Bruce Plummer as he prepares to walk in the annual Journey to Conquer Cancer Run or Walk 5K, taking place on Sunday, June 21, 2015.
Bruce’s team, the “MM Quilt” includes his wife Trudi, his two children Bryan and Leanne as well as a few close friends. The team was created by a friend and Bruce’s wife in 2006 but it wasn’t until 2008 that Bruce joined the team.
“By the third year I was asking myself why I wasn’t walking?” says Plummer. “I needed to show my family and friends that I was still able.”
Since the creation of the team, the MM Quilt has raised well over $100,000 to support multiple myeloma research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. This year the team has stepped up their fundraising goal to $24,000 and has already raised over $19,000 with the number growing daily.
As a special incentive for the tenth anniversary of the MM Quilt team’s participation, Bruce has vowed to shave his moustache if the team can reach their goal. You may be thinking that shaving a moustache might not seem like much, but Bruce hasn’t shaved his since 1977!
“My children have never seen me without my moustache and it somehow survived my stem cell transplant in 2006,” said Bruce. “I figure I will definitely look five years younger, but it’s not about me, it’s about raising funds so we can find a cure!”
Bruce’s journey started in 2005 when his family doctor found a high level of iron in his blood.
Not sure what was wrong, Bruce continued to monitor his iron levels until he received a call from his father one evening.
His father learned that his uncle had multiple myeloma, the same cancer that his grandfather passed away from in 1963. Although this disease has not been proven to be genetic, Bruce was diagnosed with the same incurable blood cancer on January 26, 2006.
“The journey is hard to explain to someone that isn't on the path. It's a little bit like having children. You are typically more prepared for children, but life changes forever on the day your first child is born, - just like the day you are told you have cancer.”
After being diagnosed, Bruce was transferred to the care of Dr. Trudel at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre where he expresses how grateful he is to be “getting the best care in the world.”
Since then Bruce has gone through two different rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and has just started his fourth clinical trial this year.
“Cancer helps you see better. I think we have different priorities, appreciate things we didn't fully appreciate before, and feel and give love like never before. It's a curse, no doubt, but there is a bit of a blessing!”
Bruce has been responding to treatment well and is continuing his journey to fight multiple myeloma. What keeps Bruce going? Well that’s an easy question as well; it’s the support of his incredible family and support group. In addition, he has made a bucket list that contains the name of 200 golf courses he plans to play at.
“Without things to look forward to such as seeing my children grow up, get married, hold a grandchild, I don’t think I could get through all the treatments, said Bruce. “My family is my why!”
Join the Plummer family and the many other participants who will be walking and running to support the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. To sponsor the MM Quilt team and get Bruce to shave his mustache please visit:
Week of June 1st
June 5th, 2015
by Cindy Leder and Kate Petterson
Cindy's Journey to Conquer Cancer
Why are you walking today?
My involvement with Princess Margaret Cancer Centre began in 2000, when my husband, Harley Ulster, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a treatable but incurable blood plasma cancer. At diagnosis, Harley and I knew nothing about this disease but we quickly realized how important it was to obtain knowledge, gain access to new treatments, and align ourselves with those in the know.
As good fortune would have it, we met Carolyn Henry, an MM patient from London, ON in the waiting area of the 2nd floor clinic. We immediately clicked, joined forces, contacted The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and created the MM5K Walk.
Year 1, saw 100 walkers and raised $100K. Year 10, saw 850+ walkers and raised over $600K !! Together, we advocated for 2 state-of-the-art cancer treatments (Velcade & Revlimid) and saw each one passed and paid for by the Ontario Government, which elicited a domino effect and impacted MM patients nationwide. In 2009, we launched The Molly & David Bloom Chair, Canada’s very first chair in Multiple Myeloma Research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
The MM5K Team has remained the top fundraising team for many years. The secret to our success? Commitment, action and never take NO for an answer! Each June, Journey to Conquer Cancer provides us with a very powerful experience, walking alongside real-life heroes, while passing by the Princess Margaret Hospital where we pause and remember the patients inside, fighting the good fight. That feeling of camaraderie strengthens our resolve and keeps us M-Moving Together Toward the Cure (our actual MM5K Team name).
Life with Multiple Myeloma is a rollercoaster - the kind that takes you through the upside-down loops. The support of family, friends, Princess Margaret doctors, nurses, clinicians, fellow patients and the team at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, always made us feel like giving up was never an option. We clung tightly to hope. Unfortunately, Harley lost his 11 year battle with Multiple Myeloma in 2011. But I learned that out of great tragedy can come some wonderful things. So, I continue to forge ahead both in Harley’s memory and in honour of all those brave warriors still waging the battle of their lives. If there is a silver lining in all of this, it is the immeasurable devotion and dedication that our “MM family” provides. We simply could not make a difference without our incredible walkers, runners, fundraisers, supporters, personal and corporate sponsors, volunteers and The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation special event staff. Alone, we are merely individuals with separate stories. Together, we become one dynamic voice - ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM!!
When the June MM5K is complete and I’ve burned holes in my running shoes, the greatest feeling I get is watching MM patients hug their family members. It is clear that our fundraising efforts support research and research is the key to a cure. So we will continue to impact and extend lives by providing critical clinical trials and new, ground-breaking, state-of-the-art treatments to all MM patients, nationwide. Please join me in keeping Harley’s dream of the cure, alive. Make a difference. MM5K team has helped raise close to $5 million for MM research over the past decade. Visit www.mm5kwalk.ca and support Multiple Myeloma research. YES, WE CAN!