Kirk Wilkerson

Making a Difference
Wednesday, March 07
So, where can I even begin!? The past six days have been beyond amazing – beyond my wildest dreams. From the chaos of Kathmandu to Namche Bazaar, the views are indescribable. My team is really family, and the Sherpa people are beautiful. All of that capped off today with a short hike to the top of Namche where I got my first view of Mount Everest at sunrise. To say that it was a spiritual experience for me is an understatement.

When this journey began over a year ago at the suggestion of my doctor, Dr. Saad Usmani, God told me this was a gift. A gift I have wanted since middle school. There was no way to prepare for the encounter with God I had this morning as I finally saw the sunrise over Everest! God is so good! (and does some amazing work). This whole trip so far has been evidence of His love.

One of our guides, Bishnu, has an orphanage in Kathmandu. What he is doing to change the world for the better is a standard for which we should all reach. One thing I have learned so far is that some people's mountain is different, and perhaps, bigger. What we call problems really aren't that big compared to what others go through. But, we can make a difference. Just like Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma has and continues to make a change for our lives by supporting the groundbreaking research of the MMRF. Through MM4MM, we know that all of us have the ability to make a difference. All it takes is courage, determination and faith. But the results are worth the effort!
Paying It Forward
Monday, January 15
When I was first diagnosed with smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM) in May of 2016, I was determined that I was going to beat this personally and was reluctant to consider treatment. Faith is a big part of our family so we began to pray. During that process of prayer and discernment, God told me, “I want you to do the clinical trial, and I will fill your visits with special encounters.” 

To date, I have had approximately 30 treatments, and each one has been special. Special not only on a personal level, but also it has been special to be a part of something groundbreaking. The technology and advancements that are being made in the research of multiple myeloma is also special. The collaboration between the provider community is unique. I am blessed to be a part of that process. 

ALSO, along the way I was provided with a special encounter that was for me… Mount Everest. I have always been fascinated with Nepal and Mount Everest! To be selected for this special team of fundraisers and climbers is truly a “bucket list” opportunity. So far, our team has raised more funds for research than any Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM) team (Yes, I am competitive!) 

I am so proud to be not only a part of this team who have now become some of my best friends, but also to be a part something that is currently changing lives. When I found out the connection between the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) and my own clinical trial, it was like life came full circle. My efforts for Everest would help “pay it forward” for someone else. My trial is funded in part by someone before me through the MMRF. What a cool connection!  

Added to that is the efficiency with which the MMRF operates. I am a financial planner and wealth manager, when I help clients plan their giving strategies, I often research the efficiencies of the charities they are considering.  People want the dollars the give to have an impact. The fact that 90% of every dollar donated to the MMRF goes directly to research to advance treatments (like my own) was a very big deal for me. It speaks to my own personal value system. I am proud and blessed to be a part of not only this Everest team, but also to be a part of the bigger picture that is funding stellar advances in this field and changing lives ... like my own.

 
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