Local Athlete Participates in Iceland 'Fire + Ice' Trek - Cancer Research

Meredith Powell to Join the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation “Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma” Program in raising critical funds for cancer research

Meredith Powell of Auburn, Alabama will venture to Iceland on August 7th for five days of challenging and spectacular hiking. The hike is often called “Fire and Ice” because on a single day, hikers will come across lava fields and volcanoes, and then alongside stunning glaciers. The hikers must be prepared for 7-8 hours of rigorous daily hiking with end-of-day destinations at the mountain huts situated in incredible settings. There will be an assortment of geologic marvels, including volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, hot springs, gorges, lava beds, waterfalls, and, of course, mountains. Additionally, the geothermal activity and colorful sulfur coming from the rocks coupled with the unique topography make this demanding mountainous hike otherworldly.

The MMRF Team for Cures raises funds for cancer research. The MMRF (Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation) was created to accelerate cancer research, particularly for multiple myeloma, and speed the development and approval of new treatments. Multiple myeloma, currently an incurable blood cancer, is the second most common blood cancer after non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

For the Iceland Trek event, Meredith will hike in honor of Dianne, her mother.“My mom was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2013, just 3 months after her 50th birthday. It was found incidentally and by chance, when she was having blood work done to obtain long-term care insurance. Her cardiology lab work showed an M-protein spike, spurring on more tests that resulted in a diagnosis of multiple myeloma. While she is in the smoldering stage now and at 25% cancerous bone marrow, her doctor has determined that through quarterly lab work, they will monitor her percentage of cancer cells in her bone marrow, and track bone lesions and kidney involvement. However, since her diagnosis, her protein levels have continuously risen, while her hemoglobin levels continually drop, indicating progression of the disease.

Over the past 6 years, I have heard the fear in my mother's voice every 3 months when preparing to go in for blood work and labs. She describes each visit as "a waiting game," when inevitably she knows there is a huge chance that one day she'll go in and learn that her cancer has gone active and it will be time to begin treatment. I want there to be a cure so badly, and I believe the MMRF can do that. I believe a cure is in the near future. Treks like this can help bring awareness to multiple myeloma and raise money toward the cure that my mother and so many others so desperately hope for.

Between my mother's multiple myeloma and her heart failure (which resulted in the surgical implantation of a pacemaker/defibrillator in the same year of her MM diagnosis), I have seen my mother’s ability to be physically active decline greatly. Since her diagnosis, she has vowed to always do whatever she feels she can physically do to experience life to the fullest, but she tires very easily—from something as simple as showering and drying her hair. I know that my mom would love to do a trek like this to raise awareness of the disease, but physically a trek like this would be nearly impossible. I am trekking in honor of my mom and to raise awareness of the cancer that affects her and thousands of other patients.”

Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM) is a collaboration between CURE Media Group and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) to raise awareness and funds for myeloma research. Since its creation in 2016, MM4MM has raised nearly 2.5 million dollars, 100% of which goes directly to cancer research. In 2019, Celgene and GSK have joined the effort as sponsors.

Patients, caregivers, myeloma doctors and nurses, and myeloma loved ones take on challenging mountains — Mount Kilimanjaro, the Grand Canyon, Peru’s Machu Picchu, Mt. Fuji, and Everest Base Camp — to demonstrate that the advancements being made in recent years, funded and spearheaded by the MMRF, are helping patients live longer with a higher quality of life than ever before.

“We have found ways to get the impossible done with events like moving mountains for multiple myeloma,” said Jane Hoffmann, Associate Director, Team for Cures. “The success of these events is directly correlated to the passion of each hiker who not only takes on the challenge of these hikes, but makes a difference in the lives of patients with multiple myeloma. These caring individuals reach out to their friends, coworkers, and family members, who in turn contribute whatever amount they can. Everyone walks away from these events inspired and rewarded knowing they’ve positively impacted the lives of patients.”

In 2008, the MMRF started an endurance charity program that has since grown to include a select group of world-class events that range from the TCS New York City Marathon to the IRONMAN Lake Placid. In 2019, the MMRF Endurance Events Program will raise over $3 million with 750 athletes, bringing the ten-year total funds raised to more than $23 million.

To support Meredith, please visit https://endurance.themmrf.org/2019Iceland/meredith.

For more information on the MMRF Endurance Events Program, please visit www.endurance.themmrf.org or contact Jane Hoffmann, HoffmannJ@themmrf.org or 203-391-4053

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cell. It is the second most common blood cancer. An estimated 26,000 in the United States will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2019 and an estimated about 11,000 people are predicted to die from the disease.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)

A pioneer in precision medicine, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) seeks to find a cure for all multiple myeloma patients by relentlessly pursuing innovations that accelerate the development of precision treatments for cancer. Founded in 1998 by Kathy Giusti, a multiple myeloma patient, and her twin sister Karen Andrews as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the MMRF has created the business model around cancer—from data to analytics to the clinic. The MMRF identifies barriers and then finds the solutions to overcome them, bringing in the best partners and aligning incentives in the industry to drive better outcomes for patients. Since its inception, the organization has collected thousands of samples and tissues, opened nearly 100 trials, helped bring 10 FDA-approved therapies to market, and built CoMMpass, the single largest genomic dataset for any cancer. Today, the MMRF is building on its legacy in genomics and is expanding into immune-oncology, as the combination of these two fields will be critical to making precision medicine possible for all patients. The MMRF has raised nearly $500 million and directs nearly 90% of the total funds to research and related programs. To learn more, visit www.themmrf.org

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