Local march aims to raise funds and awareness around incurable disease
KITCHENER - The Multiple Myeloma March was back in Kitchener on Sunday to raise funds and awareness around the incurable disease.
The third annual march took place at Steckle Farm.
Myeloma is a blood cancer found in bone marrow that forms in a type of white blood cell called plasma cells. The disease can affect the bones and kidneys.
"My doctor was concerned I had anemia so I went for some blood tests and I wasn't particularly concerned. It quickly ratcheted up into 'you have multiple myeloma,'" says Susan McDowell, who was first diagnosed in 2016 before retiring.
The Canadian Cancer Society says an estimated 2,900 new cases are diagnosed annually, affecting more men than women.
Awareness in the region is increasing with events like the Myeloma March and a monthly support group co-founded by McDowell and Juliette Royer, who is also living with myeloma.
"We talk about side effects, we talk about the new drugs that are coming up. Personal things in there. Like I said, it's a safe place," Royer says.
The march has raised about $75,000 over the last two years. Organizers also say attendance has increased year after year.
McDowell has six months of treatment ahead of her, but she is remaining positive.
"And we hope that I'll get back into full remission. That's my plan, back into full remission," she says.