Ben Marcus

I Can Still Work as a Surgeon Because of the MMRF
Wednesday, January 17
I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in December 2016. After the initial shock, I found the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). The website was a key factor that helped me understand my disease.

Even as a practicing physician, I did not know that much about the condition. While looking at the MMRF site, I found Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM). I watched the video of the Kilimanjaro climb and was in shock. I was still grappling with the idea of having an incurable disease at age 45. How long would I live? Was my life over? The video had a resounding answer for me: NO.

Here were patients just like me. Living with the disease and not just surviving but thriving. Not only did they climb the mountain – but the process itself seemed to have freed them from the heavy burden of multiple myeloma. They were uplifted, forward looking and clearly in the moment. I knew I needed to do this.

It was probably a crazy idea to sign up for a trek to Everest Base Camp when I was only six weeks into my treatment. Who knew what the future would bring? Would I be sick? Would I have the strength to train and plan? Exactly. As multiple myeloma patients we never know what the future holds. We have to make life happen here and now.

The MMRF is a key supporter of cutting-edge research. They spearhead clinical trials like the one I am in at the University of Wisconsin. With the funds raised through this program we are pushing that research forward each and every day. Because of modern medicine I am still working as a surgeon, able to enjoy life with my family and living life to the fullest. 

When I publicized my fundraiser I was overwhelmed with the response I got. People from all stages of my life reached out and offered support and funding. At first, I assumed that I must be some great guy and people really cared for me. While this might be a small part of it – I believe that the mission of MM4MM inspires everyone. If cancer patients can motivate themselves to one of the highest spots on earth then surely others can reach for their goals too. 

I am incredibly grateful for the MMRF and MM4MM. They gave me purpose early in my disease process. They have inspired me to live my best life right now. What I didn't expect is that this mission would inspire my friends, family and colleagues to live their best lives as well.
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