Alicia O'Neill
Alicia O'Neill

Be Part of Our Epic Journeys -- and Our Progress
Tuesday, December 20
In 2016, we launched Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma, a partnership between Takeda Oncology, CURE Magazine and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF). The idea was simple: to create teams that represent a microcosm of the myeloma community – patients, caregivers, myeloma doctors and nurses, and others who have lost a loved one to myeloma – and take on epic treks to raise funds and awareness for multiple myeloma research
 
In just one year, we have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world, the Grand Canyon and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, raising close to $500,000. We have produced three videos sharing these incredibly inspirational stories. We have told the personal stories of our 45 team members on blogs, and created much media attention via TV, magazines, newspapers and social media. And, we have created three amazing and incredibly powerful experiences for the participants as well as for the thousands who have followed our journeys.
 
We’ve seen 11 patients take on physical challenges that they could only have dreamed of at diagnosis. We’ve seen doctors, nurses and clinicians walk side by side with patients, reminding them, step-by-step, how significant their work is in the lives of patients and their families. We’ve seen loved ones give it their all to honor a loved one who is battling myeloma - or to remember one who has lost their fight. We’ve seen 3 different Takeda employees join each of our climbs, and benefit from experiencing first hand a view of how their work impacts so many. We’ve had the opportunity to have the Director of Patient Education at CURE Magazine, largest cancer patient publication in the United State join the three 2016 climbs, all the while chronicling these amazing stories of determination, courage and commitment.
 
And now, we are ready to do more. We are ready to bring on new teams to reprise a couple of our 2016 trips, and then we will reach new parts of the world and to take on new challenges. All of this is a metaphor for the global reach of our impact.
 
In 2017, we will see another team of MM4MM climbers, including six myeloma patients tackle Mt. Kilimanjaro’s 19,341 feet once again. In May, a group of 12 will take on the depths and heights of the majestic Grand Canyon. In July, 18 MM4MM hikers will climb Japan’s iconic Mt. Fuji, a bucket list challenge for certain, and a nod to our partner, Japan-based Takeda. We are also selecting our team now for an incredibly epic and exciting adventure: a hike through the Himalayan peaks to Everest Base Camp and just beyond to Kala Pathhar, where our team members will get a glimpse of mighty Mt. Everest.
 
Climbing mountains and canyons will not cure cancer. But research will. And research takes money. An outstanding 90 percent of all funds raised through Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma go directly to myeloma research. We can’t cure cancer, but we can climb mountains!
 
We must be bold. We must get outside of our comfort zone. We must do that which others only dream of. We must ask our circle of support to help us in this important work. We are part of something extraordinary. We hope you will join us in 2017 and beyond.
 
Our teams are forming now. To learn more and sign up to be considered for one of our teams, visit: http://donate.themmrf.org/2017MM4MM
 
 
 
September Is Blood Cancer Awareness Month: What Can YOU Do?
Thursday, September 01
In the last 10 years, there has been so much incredible progress in treating multiple myeloma. During that time, there have been 10 new drug therapies approved by the FDA for patients, and there are dozens of promising clinical trials in the pipeline. In the last decade, the lifespan of patients with myeloma has tripled and quality of life for patients has improved dramatically.

So why do we need to raise awareness for blood cancers and multiple myeloma? Because while there has been so much progress, there still is no cure.

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month and we ask you to help us continue to keep multiple myeloma and other blood cancers high profile so that the public is aware of the critical need to continue to fund blood cancer research.

The partnership between the MMRF, Takeda and CURE Magazine via Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma has helped raise awareness through our media efforts. As we wrap up this year’s third climb in the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program, we are so proud of the substantial reach that we have had with our message: A message of inspiration, empowerment, progress and the need to continue efforts to find a cure.

Through our three climbs, Mount Kilimanjaro in January, the Grand Canyon in May and most recently, the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, we have raised global awareness about multiple myeloma and the progress that has been made.

We’ve had 50 MM4MM team members — including 11 patients, two doctors, two nurses, two clinical trials administrators, a scientist from Takeda Oncology and so many caregivers — generate TV, magazine and newspaper coverage, write blogs and blast out thousands of social media posts globally.

Please help us continue of our awareness efforts. Please help us by reaching out to your networks and share about the incredible work being done by so many to help find cures to blood cancers. We can’t stop until there is a cure.
Thanks to All Who Have Helped Us Move the Mountain
Sunday, August 14
On Friday, our team of 20 pushed up a steep hill with thousands of stone steps to reach Machu Picchu. It was HARD, yet we enjoyed every minute of it! Why? Because we have gotten to know each other — patients, caregivers, a myeloma doctor, nurses, hospital administrators, Takeda, CURE, MMRF representatives — and took this challenge on together. And because we brought so many of our loved ones and supporters with us — in our minds and in our hearts — on this journey. Indeed, it was those people who helped us reach the top!

We started as strangers and over the course of these four days, have learned each other's stories, laughed, cried, and stood in absolute awe looking at the wonder of what we have achieved and at the breathtaking beauty of all of Peru.

One of the days we had a tour of the Sun Temple in Ollyantatambo, Peru, en route to Aquas Calliente, our trail head. We witnessed the beautiful temple and surrounding terraces and learned about how these temple walls were constructed. What blew my mind was trying to understand how the Incas could cut a huge slab of granite from a mountain on the OTHER side of the river and then transport it down that mountain, across the river and then up THIS mountain to build the temple. Some of the rock slabs weighed more than 50 tons! How do they do that without the use of even the wheel? Answer: They did it with teamwork and coordination and muscle and determination. They used ropes and at times had hundreds of people pulling on that rope to move the piece of the mountain up the incredibly steep terrain.

So the Inca workers were actually moving mountains — a metaphor for what we are doing out here in Peru. We were 20 people climbing up a steep mountain. But above us, pulling, were our supporters. Hundreds of friends, co-workers and business colleagues, family members, doctors, nurses, and more were pulling us up that mountain with an invisible rope that helped us get to our glorious goal. Yes, we are Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma — with so many others pulling that rope to get us here and to help fund research that will save lives and improve quality of life.

We thank you!
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