Paul Bassett

That Which Cannot Be Caged Must Be Chased!
Monday, July 10
The Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program aims to conquer the 6th mountain in a few short weeks. As I prepare, there are many thoughts that have crossed my mind. As a nurse in training I had the opportunity to sit with a psych patient who was painting a mountain scene. Coming from Ohio where we didn’t have much more than a rolling hill – mountains were always something that could be seen in pictures, but never in person. As I looked at this painting, I thought of the beauty and majesty of the landscape. However when I asked this particular patient why they chose to paint such an amazing portrait, my eyes were opened. They said that the mountains were “jagged and rough, dangerous and fragile, just like life”. This was not the answer I was expecting, but one that really opened my eyes to how we all see the world.  To me, mountains represent an inherent beauty. A sense of wild, untamable and intimidating monuments that only those with a death wish would ever attempt to climb. What I’ve come to realize is that with all the metaphor’s mountains have taken on in our lives, the mountain is still just a mountain. It does not care if you climb it or not. It does not care how tough your journey to the summit may be, or if the dangers along the way to the top could take your life with one wrong move.  The real “mountain” we have to face is the one looking back at us in the mirror.

Multiple myeloma as we know has no cure. At this time it cannot be caged (by having a cure), so it must be chased. The pursuit of a cure is the end goal. While that seems obvious, the journey to get there is parallel to the many symbolisms of climbing a mountain. We here at the MMRF, with our partners like Takeda and Cure share in the passion that is reflected in each and every patient. Bringing new treatment options forward, to enhance quality of life, and to ultimately reach the summit (a cure) is why we’re chasing this disease with a relentless sense of urgency.

With only a few weeks to go until this #MM4MM team heads to Japan to conquer “the most climbed mountain in the world”, there is much excitement and anticipation. This quote by the famous swordsman Miyamoto Musashi (宮本 武蔵, c. 1584 – June 13, 1645) has been a mantra of the many who have climbed this mountain.

Aspire to be like Mt. Fuji, with such a broad and solid foundation that the strongest earthquake cannot move you, and so tall that the greatest enterprises of common men seem insignificant from your lofty perspective. With your mind as high as Mt Fuji you can see all things clearly. And you can see all the forces that shape events; not just the things happening near to you.”

To my teammates and to everyone who has supported this cause, here’s to being like Mt. Fuji!
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