Stan Wagner

My Last Mountain Trek...Really
Friday, March 23
Mark Herkert
After climbing Kilimanjaro in 2016, I decided that I was done with this type of adventure. My bucket list item of climbing to Everest Base Camp would not happen.

Well, things change. I’m home now. Trying to get back into a normal life after being part of an amazing team, doing amazing things. We made it to Everest Base Camp a little more than a week ago. More importantly, our team raised more than $400,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF).

After a life-altering trip like this, there are still bits and pieces of it that elude my memory, but it comes back after looking at the many photos that were taken. It was tough. For me, it was a bit of a struggle. There was a day where the struggle was more emotional than physical. But, my Everest family was there for me. And, I know that we’ll be there for each other forever. That’s the big take away for me. Being a part of something bigger than myself.

Thank you CURE, Takeda Oncology and the MMRF for helping me check off this item on my bucket list. And, most importantly, thank you to my very understanding wife, Pam, for allowing me to go on the trip of a lifetime. Next trek will be sedate enough so that I can share it with my wife.
Different Treks, Same Mission
Thursday, March 08
Today we’re relaxing at Namche Bazaar. We lost some time due to weather. Planes can’t fly into Lukla Airport unless the weather is absolutely perfect. But we have to be prepared for that. So, we got split up into groups. Our group wound up hiking 13 miles. Two days of trekking in one day. Looking back on the last year of training for this, I’ve realized that no matter the training regimen, it’s the altitude that gets you. I’ve been pushing myself to the limit on day one. Let’s see what happens on the following days.

I’ve always wanted to come to this part of the world. There’s a sense of peace. The people are welcoming and friendly.This is exactly the welcoming feeling I got from my doctors and nurses when I was first diagnosed. As a patient, that’s what you need. A calming explanation of what you may face on this journey. I had a relatively easy journey on my way to complete remission. I’m hoping this trek will be as easy as my multiple myeloma “trek” has been. But I’m not betting on it. And I’m not taking my remission for granted.

I’m grateful to the MMRF for putting the funds this team has raised via this Everest Base Camp trek (fast approaching $400,000!) to work in the clinic to develop new treatments for all myeloma patients.
One Personal Mountain at a Time
Thursday, January 11
Stan Wagner on Kilimanjaro
Me on Kilimanjaro
Six years ago I would not have thought I’d be writing about participating in an adventure of a lifetime. I also would never have thought I’d be diagnosed with an incurable cancer.

I’ve been lucky to have had a great response to the drugs I am taking that the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) helped to get approved. Early in my treatment it wasn’t clear whether or not I’d need a stem cell transplant. But, since starting treatment in February 2013 and achieving “complete response” in June 2013, I’m still in complete remission with no sign of cancer.

The last couple of years has been an opportunity to give back. As cancer patients, we all have our own mountains to climb. Whether it’s just getting up in the morning and walking to the corner store or, actually climbing a mountain. I’ve been honored to be able to take part in another Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma trek. Climbing Kilimanjaro was a life-altering experience. Going to Mount Everest will be just as amazing. Finding a cure for multiple myeloma is the real goal. Climbing mountains or trekking toward the base of one is the means to bring awareness and donations.

I’m doing this to prove to myself that I can. That it inspires other cancer patients to climb their own mountains is humbling and just as important.

Meeting my new mountain family this past July while on a practice climb in Colorado was wonderful. I knew we’d be family forever.

Listening to what other patients have gone through, I am truly blessed to have gotten to where I am with minimal issues. I don’t take it for granted. Just as quickly as it disappeared, it can return. 

Thankfully, I’ve got a wonderful support system. My wife has been by my side throughout this journey. Family and friends have been there for me as well. And, I can’t forget my doctor and the staff at Mount Sinai’s Multiple Myeloma Program. Always there to help answer questions.

And now I’ve got two new families. One from my climb of Mount Kilimanjaro. And, one from our trek to Mount Everest.

One foot at a time. One day at time. One personal mountain at a time.
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