Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM) is a collaboration between CURE Media Group, Takeda Oncology and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) to raise awareness and funds for myeloma research.
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.
The first climb, in January 2016, saw a team of 15 MMRF supporters, which included four myeloma patients and a myeloma doctor, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free standing mountain in the world. This team raised close to $250,000, with all proceeds going to the MMRF to fuel its groundbreaking precision medicine model which focuses on bringing the right treatment to the right patient at the right time.
Since that time, three additional climbs have taken place. In May 2016, 13 hikers took on the Bright Angel trail in the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. In August 2016, a team of 20 hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. A second expedition to Mt. Kilimanjaro took place in February 2017.
More climbers are preparing for a May 2017 trek down and up the Grand Canyon. In July 2017, a group of 20 Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma hikers will scale the iconic Mt. Fuji, a bucket list challenge that is a nod to Takeda Pharmaceuticals, one of the MM4MM partners. Finally, in March 2018, a group of 20 will take on the most epic trek of all: a 12-day journey through the Himalayan Mountains to the Everest Base Camp and picturesque Kallathaphar.
To date, these seven teams have raised nearly $1 million, all of which goes directly to the MMRF to fund its life-saving cancer research. All told, the program has engaged a total of 110 supporters including 34 multiple myeloma patients, eight myeloma doctors, five myeloma clinical trial managers, two nurses and other family members of patients, living or deceased. Also, included on each climb is a representative from CURE Media, Takeda Oncology and the MMRF.
"There is nothing more powerful than working together with multiple myeloma patients, doctors and nurses, caregivers and partners like Takeda Oncology and CURE toward a common goal,” says Alicia O’Neill, a climber for the MM4MM program and an MMRF executive. "Pushing beyond perceived limits, working together with our dedicated partners, moving into action to demonstrate – through our physical feats – that we can be a source of funding and of inspiration is at the core of why we are climbing."
When those touched by myeloma see patients taking on these incredible feats, we hope that they are inspired. While not every patient can dream of summiting the 19,341-foot peak in Africa, we hope our efforts and accomplishments serve as inspiration that we are stronger than we know and can be a positive part of the work that is being done to extend lives as we get closer to a cure.
Kilimanjaro climber and multiple myeloma patient Bod Dickey of Shell Beach, California, says, "For me, Mount Kilimanjaro was validation that multiple myeloma is not the end. The climb illustrates to patients and caregivers that multiple myeloma offers us an opportunity, if not a requirement, to press harder."
Takeda Oncology and CURE are proud supporters of the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma Program.