Jon Katz
Jon Katz

Dear Dad
Friday, April 21
Dear Dad,
 
I think back over seven years ago to when you were first diagnosed with multiple myeloma, from the unexplained back pain that wouldn't get better to the fateful MRI which found a couple of troubling spots. Who knew just how troubling? After a bone scan and biopsy, multiple myeloma was confirmed. Like everything else you do, you managed how you told us. You managed it in a caring, thoughtful way — making sure all of the family was together to learn the news so we could support each other.  
 
One strong memory is your warning you gave — don't look it up on the internet. Of course, being curious and needing as much information as possible, I ignored that warning. Note to anyone reading this: treatments have changed a lot (more on that and why I'm doing this trek shortly). Information on the internet about multiple myeloma is all over the map. Some is outdated, a lot is scary, but there is plenty of important information out there too. Read and absorb carefully, it's easy to get scared by what you see!
 
After all of these years, I am so glad you are doing well. The medication and side effects have been challenging, but largely have kept the multiple myeloma under control. I looked at a message you posted a couple years ago and am thrilled it is still true today: "The disease is under control and since the last post we have been well enough to have traveled extensively — The Galapagos, Kenya and Tanzania, Northern India as well as Houston, Savannah, Tucson, Colorado, Quebec, Montreal and Michigan." I think since then you can even add a few more trips and I know you are looking forward to heading to Germany and Denmark in June.  
 
Your fight, your perseverance and your wish to give back through starting and leading a multiple myeloma support group in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles has inspired me to join the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma 2017 Grand Canyon fundraising trek. Your treatment has been tough, but largely successful. We need to keep the research going for others with multiple myeloma and for you. 
 
I love the idea of doing a tough hike to raise funds. It reminds of years ago when we went to Alaska for vacation and hiked in the mountains outside Anchorage and walked on a glacier. I think back to when I studied abroad in New Zealand and you came to visit. I had developed a love of "tramping" (hiking) in New Zealand and was so, so happy to share a small piece of that with you. The outdoors means a lot to us and has long been a part of our lives which adds to the meaning of this fundraising trek.
 
Thank you for all you have done for me growing up and now. Thank you for helping me with my fundraising efforts. I am so happy and proud to do this trek for you. 
 
Love,
Jon
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