Jeffrey & Silva Zonder

Names: Jeffrey and Silva Zonder
Ages: 48 & 49
Hometown: Berkley, MI
First and foremost, we are climbing to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) because, as myeloma researchers, we understand the impact that research funded by organizations like the MMRF have on patients and their families. We see patients every single day who are either currently participating in an MMRF/C clinical trial or who have benefitted from a therapy the MMRF helped develop.

But to be clear, we also relish the adventure and the challenge of tackling Nepal and Everest. And to go with colleagues and patients – including a patient from the Karmanos Cancer Institute who could barely walk a year or so ago – nothing more inspiring. We’d know, because this is our third fundraising endurance event for the MMRF. Previous campaigns included the New York City Marathon (Jeff, 2007) and Machu Picchu (Jeff and Silva, 2016). This one will be the best yet!

We hike in support of John Raithel and all of our patients battling myeloma or amyloidosis, and in the memory of Arjana Bega (Silva’s sister, who died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and Barbara Zonder (Jeff’s mother, a nonsmoker who died of lung cancer).
Let’s just get it out in the open. We met over myeloma, at work. It’s a pretty nerdy tale. Jeff is the leader of the Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis multidisciplinary sub-team at the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, Michigan. Silva is the Program Coordinator for Hematologic Malignancies at Karmanos. We enjoy the outdoors and travel. We try to get out on the trail backpacking every summer and the ski slopes every winter, and with each passing year are increasingly grateful to be healthy enough to keep doing it. If there is anything our careers have taught us, it is that you cannot take a moment for granted.
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