The annual walk of champions for myeloma research returns to its 13th year on Sunday.
Like last year, the walk will be held most of this year due to COVID-19.
Participants will complete a walk in their neighborhood after the online opening ceremony.
The annual walk is the major annual fundraising event of the County and London Marrow Cancer Support Group and raises funds for marrow cancer clinical trials at the London Regional Cancer Program.
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Multiple myeloma patient Lisa Bowden said: “Cure will be the ultimate goal, but it is hard to believe what has happened in the past few years. “People are living longer (and) feeling good.”
Multiple myeloma is the most common type of plasma cell cancer, in which abnormal plasma cells can form tumors in the bones and bone marrow – spongy tissue found inside bones.
There is no known cure. The goal of treatment is to relieve symptoms, slow the progression of the disease, and put it in remission.
“We have seen a wide range of drugs that have been approved (to) treat myeloma patients,” continued Bowden. “Through many clinical trials over many years, we’ve got these incredible drugs now available.”
London resident Heather Appleton and her family will join the walk on Sunday.
Appleton was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the summer of 2016.
“I was playing baseball and thought I pulled a muscle… I spent a couple of months in a lot of pain,” she explained. “It was a tumor in my spine… I had surgery for the tumor along with chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant followed by radiation, and I have had chemotherapy since.”
Appleton says advances in treatment and medication have given her the best chance of living the healthiest life possible.
“I don’t feel like a cancer patient… Life is good,” she laughs.
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The Walk of Champions was started in 2009 by myeloma patients Dan Childerhose and the late Keith Fleming.
To date, the walk has raised more than $750,000 for myeloma research.
Those interested in donating can do so on the Walk of Champions website.
–With files from the Canadian Press and Global News ‘Devon Peacock
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