As a part of a fundraising effort by Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM), 15 individuals will take on a challenging hike through Iceland from Aug. 8 to 12. MM4MM is a joint initiative between the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, CURE Media Group and Celgene. The upcoming climb includes patients, caregivers, team members from the organizing partners and a myeloma doctor.
“As a patient founded organization, the MMRF stands together with those who are battling multiple myeloma – patients, families, physicians, researchers, and our pharmaceutical partners. This team represents a microcosm of that myeloma community and demonstrates that together, we can collaborate with ever increasing momentum towards a cure”, said Paul Giusti, CEO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. “We are thrilled to enter the third year of this inspiring program and to have Celgene join us in this effort to raise awareness and critical funds to continue our mission.” Called Fire and Ice, the hike will take the participants through geologic marvels including volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, hot springs, waterfalls and mountains. The proceeds will benefit the foundation’s life-changing efforts to further the development of multiple myeloma treatments. The organization has raised more than $2 million through six completed expeditions.”
The team includes five individuals who are living with multiple myeloma:
- Jen Phlieger Ansier, 31, of Austin, Texas, received a diagnosis of multiple myeloma after her general physician found unusual lab results during a routine physical. Soon after, she started therapy and then received an autologous stem cell transplant in February 2007. A second transplant was needed in 2011. Since then, she has been in remission. Though she does not consider herself an endurance athlete, Ansier said, she is excited to challenge herself with the strenuous hike and hopes to inspire other young patients who are battling myeloma.
- Rich Appelbaum, 64, of Oceanside, New York, received his diagnosis of multiple myeloma in 2016. He believes that his years as a competitive wrestler more than 40 years ago prepared him for this diagnosis and this hike. Keeping the wrestling mantra “Never, ever quit!” in mind, Applebaum said, he is ready to take on this challenge
- Barbara, McCarrick, 59, of Pleasanton, California, received her diagnosis in 2009. She responded well to treatment that included tandem stem cell transplants but relapsed in 2013. She is now in remission and said she is eager to take on Fire and Ice to benefit the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. “With research, clinical trials and new treatments, I will, hopefully, have a long remission and soon, a cure,” she said.
- Brian Smith, 35, of Bremerton, Washington, experienced severe neck and back pain in 2016. After X-rays and other tests revealed myeloma, Smith underwent a stem cell transplant and is now in remission. “I have refused to let this disease define me,” he said. “I have worked hard to live my life as normally as I can and continue to do the things that I love.” Trekking the mountains and valleys of Iceland is in line with this philosophy, he said.
- Emily Schottman, 48, of Austin, a mother of two, learned in 2010 that she had multiple myeloma. Following a stem cell transplant and treatment, she has been in remission for 7 years. Shortly after she received her diagnosis, her family decided to live boldly and create experiences together, and they have traveled to 10 countries since. Like others on the team, Schottman said she believes that this trek provides living proof that patients with myeloma are able to live their dreams.
“We are honored to be a part of this ongoing initiative,” said Michael J. Hennessy Jr., president of MJH Associates, Inc., parent company of CURE Media Group. “These initiatives have not only played a crucial role in raising funds and awareness but have also raised a sense of hope and optimism among patients, caregivers and doctors.”
“Celgene and the MMRF share an unyielding commitment to improving the lives of patients with multiple myeloma and we are extremely honored to participate in the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma initiative,” said Joel Beetsch, Ph.D., Vice President, Global Patient Advocacy for Celgene. “The progress that has been made over the last decade in this disease is remarkable, however, we recognize that there is work yet to do, and are inspired by the participants in this unique program, which is raising awareness and vital funds for multiple myeloma research.”
To learn more about MM4MM and donate to multiple myeloma research, please visit http://www.movingmountainsformultiplemyeloma.com/iceland18.
About Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma
Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM) is a collaboration between CURE Media Group and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to raise awareness and funds for myeloma research. This year, Amgen and Celgene Corporation join the effort as sponsors. In addition to Fire and Ice and an earlier Havasu Falls, Arizona, trek, the program will do another trek in 2018: In October, an Amgen-sponsored team will take on Everest Base Camp. To date, MM4MM has raised over $2.0 million for myeloma research and included 34 myeloma patients on 7 climbs. Funds raised go directly to research, supporting the MMRF mission. For more information, visit https://www.themmrf.org/events/.
About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cell, is the second most common blood cancer. An estimated 30,000 adults will be diagnosed this year, and 12,600 people are predicted to die from the disease.
About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
The mission of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) is to find a cure for multiple myeloma by relentlessly pursuing innovation that accelerates the development of next-generation treatments to extend patients’ lives. Founded in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by Kathy Giusti, a patient with multiple myeloma, and her twin sister, Karen Andrews, the MMRF is a world-recognized leader in cancer research. Together with its partners, the MMRF created the only end-to-end solution in precision medicine and the single largest genomic data set in all cancers. As a pioneer and leader at the helm of new research efforts, the MMRF continues to disrupt the industry. Since its inception, the organization has raised more than $400 million and directs nearly 90 percent of the total funds to research and related programs. To learn more, visit www.themmrf.org.
About CURE Media Group
CURE Media Group is the leading resource for cancer updates, research and education. It combines a full suite of media products, including its industry-leading website, CUREtoday.com; innovative video programs, such as CURE Connections®; a series of widely attended live events; and CURE® magazine, which reaches over 1 million readers. CURE Media Group is part of the Cranbury, New Jersey-based MJH Associates Inc. family of businesses, which includes the acclaimed OncLive® (http://www.onclive.com) platform of resources for the practicing oncologist. For more information, visit http://www.curetoday.com or http://www.mjhassoc.com