Michelle Cunningham-Joost
Name: Michelle Cunningham-Joost
Age: 40
Hometown: Cooperstown, N.Y.
Link: https://endurance.themmrf.org/2017GrandCanyon/MichelleLCunninghamJoost
 
It all started with a simple promise, "I will do anything in my power to make sure that others have more time and that we find a cure." On November 2, 2016, my mother lost her four-and-a-half-year battle to multiple myeloma – just about a month from her 64th birthday. As I sat there, days before Thanksgiving, I was thinking about how I would keep that promise. Frustrated with the lack of ideas, I jumped on Facebook. In my newsfeed was a link to Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma. Coincidence? I think not. I realized that this was a perfect way to keep that promise.
 
I've spent a lot of time in the mountains hiking as a kid in Alaska and I realized then that I loved being out in nature. When I moved to Virginia, the Blue Ridge was an hour away and I found myself hiking every chance I could. I even bought a book of hikes and started checking them off, snapping pictures along the way. Someday I'd like to hike the entire Appalachian Trail from Maine to Georgia, perhaps after I retire or when I build up enough leave to take three months off. Hiking the Grand Canyon, as beautiful as I hope it is, the dry heat is something that I'm not used to living in New England. But as we say in the military, "Drink water!"
 
I am excited, humbled and honored to share the trail with multiple myeloma patients, medical professionals and others who have lost loved ones. I’m sure this will be a healing place for all of us as we all battle our own demons and emotions, but once we get to the bottom, the only place to go is up. 
 
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