Donna & Bud Cowan
Donna & Bud Cowan

Paying It Forward
I am retired, sort of, and I enjoy keeping busy. I live in Folsom, California (Yes, where the famous Folsom Prison is). My husband and I moved here from a small town on the Oregon coast about 10 years ago. We have our wonderful family, great friends and we live in an area where there is always something to do.

One night while getting ready for bed, I was doing my normal "get ready for bed stuff" and humming away, relaxed and content … I turned around to get a towel and bam! the pain took me to my knees, then to the ER. What had been an irritating area in my back surfaced as bone lesions in two of my vertebrae caused by multiple myeloma. I was diagnosed in 2013 with high risk multiple myeloma and was told I had two to three years to live. Shocked. I was unable to walk and slept sitting up for four-plus months until the chemo stopped the progress of the myeloma. The treatments worked wonders, remission came quickly.

Now, I needed help ... I was born in Missouri and my mother (fondly) would never let me forget it, she said I always needed to know "why?" and that I was stubborn. My project now was to find places and people who could help me with my emotional and physical strength to face my diagnosis. I worked hard on both. I was so blessed to find all the different organizations that are helping me through this.

When the e-mail came that said “Let's Conquer the Canyon to help the MMRF,” I wanted a part of it to pay it forward to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation for all it has done for me and so many others — always there for us in more ways than can be explained. I feel so blessed to be here now, in my good health, that I need to do this.

I love the outdoors, challenges and adventures. I have always had more energy than the average person, so I've been told ... I love being with my grandchildren and I have enjoyed doing aerobics, walking, bicycling, beach combing, scuba diving, kayaking and hiking — and I’ve had fun doing it all.

I’m excited to hike the Grand Canyon to see all that beauty with my own eyes and not looking at a picture. It will be a challenge.

We have been following the schedule from "The Walking Connection" as close as possible to be ready to face the upcoming challenge. I feel our part in the hike is a gift. I don't know how well I will do, but I do know that the people behind all the planning and organizing are there for us. I’ll try to make it one of the most wondrous adventures ever.

- Donna
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