Members of the Prince George community have raised more than $12,000 at the fifth annual Prince George Multiple Myeloma March.
This year, the 5 km walk was modified to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Participants were encouraged to hold their own walk in their neighbourhood at the same time as the regularly scheduled March in compliance with physical distancing measures.
March spokesperson, David Duck and his team Cure’s Gonna Come, were determined to create awareness for myeloma, a little-known and incurable cancer of the plasma cells that he has been actively living with since 2015.
Duck, a retired Canadian Western Bank branch manager from Prince George, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma the day after his 65th birthday.
“I suspected something was amiss because of my back pain, but I had no idea it was cancer,” he said. “Coincidentally, I knew what myeloma was because my boss was diagnosed in 2004 and, unfortunately, passed away from it in 2010. Although myeloma isn’t talked about as much as it should be, I’ve discovered that several people I know are fighting this same battle.”
Multiple myeloma, also known as myeloma, is the second most common form of blood cancer. Myeloma affects a type of immune cell called the plasma cell, found in the bone marrow. Every day, nine Canadians are diagnosed, yet in spite of its growing prevalence, the disease remains relatively unknown.
While there is no cure, people with myeloma are living longer and better lives, thanks to recent breakthroughs in treatment.
After his diagnosis, Duck underwent surgery to repair two vertebrae in his spine that had disintegrated from the myeloma.
He also received several rounds of chemotherapy and one round of radiation over the next five months in preparation for a stem cell transplant that he received in November 2015. The procedure was a success, and Duck achieved full remission in January 2016.
Sadly, three and a half years later, Duck’s myeloma resurfaced, and he was prescribed another treatment regimen. Thankfully, he has responded well to these new treatments. Recent tests show that Duck is nearly back in remission and his condition is relatively stable.
“Because of the myeloma, I lost some strength and stamina, and I am no longer able to play soccer. Still, thanks to my current treatments, I get to play golf and fish again. I was even able to attend a fishing trip with my three sons in August – something I would not have imagined a year ago,” Duck said.
He is now eager to do what he can to help others living with the disease and is determined to help find a cure.
The Prince George Multiple Myeloma March is one of 32 communities across the country participating in Myeloma Canada’s annual nation-wide fundraising event.
“As we continue to raise awareness of myeloma, we are getting closer to reaching a cure than ever before,” Martine Elias, Executive Director of Myeloma Canada, said.
“Now is an exciting and encouraging time in myeloma research. There are many new clinical advances being made to help improve the quality and length of life of those living with this disease. That’s why it is crucial that we continue to raise funds for research, so that sooner than later, a cure for myeloma will be found.