Kelley M. Ward
Kelley M. Ward

From Organizer to Participant: Why I Had to Get Involved
Friday, January 13
In 2016 we started this incredibly special program, and I have had the privilege of being a part of the planning from the get-go. I’ll always remember when a prior participant and patient reached out to us along with a friend to say they had this passionate idea and wanted to do it with the MMRF. I don’t think any of us expected this “idea” to grow into this developed and global program it has become today.

Taking on the role of Team Manager, I was proud to do all I could to learn about this mountain and support the team. Our fearless founder of the MMRF Endurance Events program, Alicia O’Neill, took the plunge and committed to going on the trek on behalf of the MMRF. I never thought about joining the team at that point; to a then 26-year-old, $10,000 was a lot to raise and to be honest the threat of altitude sickness really intimidated me… and still does!

To me, remaining stateside and supporting this mountainous endeavor was the best way I could imagine being a part of getting the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program off the ground. But this year was different. The concerns about fundraising were still there but I found myself ready to fixate on new challenges. I felt like in all of my years from high school to now, as a professional, that I had always focused on helping others reach their every potential in fundraising, raising awareness and reaching their fitness goals. I owed it to myself and to the MMRF, which has inspired and fulfilled my life so much, to finally “walk-the-walk.” Now more than ever I feel so compelled to be a part of the ground-breaking work the MMRF and the MM4MM program are doing for myeloma awareness and research. For almost three years, I have met and come to care so deeply for the patients and families this disease and cancer in general affect. I want to do all I can to help prolong these people’s lives and help create so much HOPE for those to come.

This team is beyond special. In our nine years as an endurance events program, we’ve never had six patients on one team before. It doesn’t end there though. The amount of heart and passion in each of the individuals on this team is humbling and I couldn’t be more proud to call them my team mates let alone be their team leader. For them and with them I know I can take on anything this mountain throws at us. Just like the MMRF is overcoming the obstacles in cancer research and the difficulty in treating myeloma, together we will overcome Mt. Kilimanjaro.

 
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