On Sunday, September 25, the 7th Annual Greg Roberts Memorial Myeloma Walk/Run will take place at Airdrie East Lake Park at 9:30 a.m. Among those participating is Trish Murray and her family. Murray was 49 years old when she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2020.
It started when Murray had a sore back in 2019, which she attributed to a tumble she took when she fell off her mountain bike. Assuming she may have torn a ligament, she went to see physiotherapists and chiropractors to help manage her discomfort, though nothing seemed to ease the pain.
"Eventually I had an MRI and it revealed that I had what's called a burst fracture in my spine, in my T-4; a tumour had grown there. When you only have one tumour, it can be treated with radiation, and you can be monitored," she said. "Unfortunately for me, I did start to grow another tumour in my jaw within a few months and when you have more than one plasmacytoma (a tumour of plasma cells of bony or soft tissue), you fall under the multiple myeloma umbrella and that's where my journey with treatment and actually being diagnosed started."
She would undergo a stem-cell transplant treatment in 2020 and though the myeloma is in remission, Murray said that those who are diagnosed with this type of blood cancer are prone to relapse. Though being diagnosed with cancer was devastating enough, she said that missing out on family milestones was perhaps the hardest part of her journey.
"I have three teenagers and the important times in their lives like graduation, 18th birthdays, 16th, birthdays; I just wanted to be present and it was very difficult to go into treatment," Murray said. "But my family was amazing and very supportive. With their support, I was able to come through it and fortunately, the drugs and the medications that they have, while you're going through treatment, do help as well. But ultimately, it boiled down to wanting to be there for my family and I'm willing to do what it takes to get healthy again."
One of the reasons that Murray was motivated to call Myeloma Canada and ask what she can do for her part to help was the fact that at this point in her recovery, she feels it was time to give back but that participating in events like the Annual Greg Roberts Memorial Myeloma Walk/Run can help raise crucial funds that may ultimately save lives.
"In the past 15 years, there have been amazing treatments that have been developed through research and clinical trials. The only way that that can happen is through funding, whether that's through the government or private funding. I would love a cure in my lifetime and I'll do anything that I can do to propel that forward and move the needle towards finding a cure. That was my main reason for wanting to get back."
The Greg Roberts Memorial Myeloma Walk/Run is one of 34 plus communities across the country participating in Myeloma Canada’s nationwide event. This year, the flagship fundraiser aims to raise $750,000 on a national scale. Murray and her fellow marchers have set a goal to raise $30,000 to help for further research on multiple myeloma. Thus far, $14,160 has been raised, with Murray raising $5,700.
“Every year, we’re getting closer to finding a cure,” said Martine Elias, Executive Director of Myeloma Canada. “That’s why the funds raised at the Airdrie March are so critical. They’ll help to keep myeloma research moving forward and to improve the lives of Canadians impacted by this devastating disease.”
There have been 116 donors, with 96 registered participants for the 7th Annual Greg Roberts Memorial Myeloma Walk/Run to date.
“Myeloma can affect anyone; the fact that I was diagnosed with it was a huge surprise,” Murray said. “If you are diagnosed, there is always hope; hope is what we all hold on to and the hope is that there will be a cure one day soon."
According to Myeloma Canada, approximately 10 people are diagnosed with myeloma each day in the country.
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