I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare form of cancer in June 2015. Prior to my diagnosis, I had never heard about this disease. My hematologist-oncologist explained to me the nature of this cancer and the protocol I would have to follow, which led me, many months later to a stem cell transplant. She gave me a booklet, prepared by Myeloma Canada and suggested I visit their website to get more information.
I did some research, mostly online, to try to understand what could be expected from this diagnosis. I wanted to meet other people suffering from the same disease to find out what they were experiencing. I met some patients in the hospital waiting room and we shared what we were going through, but these people were at different stages of the disease and the treatments they were receiving were different from mine. I felt lonely and I needed to know more.
It’s by digging through the information available on Myeloma Canada’s website that I learned about the annual Walk for myeloma organized at different locations across the country which aimed to raise funds for myeloma research. I learned there was a Walk in the Ottawa-Gatineau region in September and registered.
This Walk was a revelation for me. My family and many friends joined me and I had the opportunity to meet people who were experiencing the same things as me. I saw some that were diagnosed a while ago and doing well, learned about a Support Group in the region and met some key people. Among those I met were David Rideout, Walk Coordinator and Robin Sully, Ottawa-Outaouais region Support Group Leader. From that day on, I felt that I was no longer alone on my journey, I was creating a network and I was reassured by the people around me. I had the opportunity to discuss with people experiencing the same symptoms as me and I had access to some very useful information.
That year, I raised more than $10,000 and almost the same amount in 2016. I really hope that my donors will continue to support me this year. This cause is very
important to me because it is through research that we will be able to find a cure for this disease.
Our governments invest in the healthcare system and we are lucky to live in this country. However, if we really want things to move forward, we must get involved, seek additional funds, get the pharmaceutical companies to develop new drugs and increase awareness so that governments rapidly approve new treatments quickly. In the early 2000's, the average life expectancy for myeloma patients was 3-5 years. With the help of Myeloma Canada and the research done in many Canadian hospitals, including the Ottawa General Hospital, as well as the research institutes around the world, most patients now live much longer.
While not everyone can give their time, we can all take a few hours to solicit our families, friends and network to contribute to the cause. It’s a matter of life…
The next Ottawa-Gatineau Myeloma Walk will take place on September 24th. It’s an opportunity not to be missed, especially if your life has been touched by myeloma. For more information, visit