John Klatt

Hometown: Lydonville, NY

Multiple myeloma is sneaky. Working on a part-time housing renovation in 2016 masked the symptoms of my back pain as a “pulled muscle” until finally I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. By that time the disease was located in approximately 80% of my bone marrow. I also had 10 compression fractures in the vertebrae of my spine. Fortunately, my wife and I live near the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY and immediately began treatment there that literally saved my life. After two kyphoplasty surgeries on my spine at Roswell and chemo leading up to an autologous stem cell transplant in August of that year, my markers of the disease were vastly improved. I am now in remission and feeling well, able to be actively engaged in a variety of hobbies and even more “fix up” projects.  

I am very thankful. I like to think that rather than fearing cancer it is now the case that cancer is afraid of me. The disease has been a blessing in disguise in many ways, teaching me to appreciate my life and each day as it comes.

An evening of reading on a cold night in February gave me an opportunity to learn about the MM4MM Fire and Ice Trek in Iceland from the back cover of CURE magazine. I walked into the next room where my wife was knitting and announced that the Iceland Trek was something I felt compelled to do. She looked at me as if my “chemo brain” was acting up again. Now she and I will together be sharing Iceland as she plans to stay in Reykjavik during the trek.

Being accepted as part of the Iceland Team provides an exciting project to look forward to and work towards. The fundraising has been a great way to invite friends and family to be part of the adventure. People have been very generous. Meeting the other members of the team and enjoying their company while in the beauty of creation in Iceland will be exciting. I am happy to support the research that is so helpful for the treatment of multiple myeloma.
 
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