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5th Annual Hamilton-Niagara Multiple Myeloma March will fund research and treatment. Caledonia woman tells her story

5th Annual Hamilton-Niagara Multiple Myeloma March will fund research and treatment. Caledonia woman tells her story

Every Day, 11 Canadians are diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer.In early 2020, Mary Cass, a financial coordinator at McMaster University, received a life-changing diagnosis. Following a vacation to Barbados with her husband, Trevor, in February, she couldn’t understand why she felt constantly run-down and exhausted— unable to complete her routine daily tasks. After pushing for answers, Mary was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a little-known and incurable blood cancer also known as myeloma. She was 62 years old. 

Mary was shocked and devastated by the news. She considered herself healthy, exercising and swimming laps at least three times a week. “I sensed something was wrong when simple tasks, such as walking to work, became challenging. I kept losing my breath— something that had never happened to me before.”

After a spinal cord biopsy and additional blood tests, Mary’s diagnosis was confirmed. She had myeloma.

While myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer, few people have ever heard of it. The reality is that the number of Canadians living with myeloma rises every year, underlining the urgent need for greater investment in, and access to, life-saving treatments and care.

Mary immediately began chemotherapy treatments to prepare her for a stem cell transplant, a procedure that is often effective in controlling the disease. Mary had to undergo the procedure twice, once in September 2020 and again in January 2021, to get positive results. Thankfully, the second stem cell transplant was successful in putting Mary’s myeloma into remission. Mary is now receiving maintenance therapy to help keep the disease at bay.

Despite the challenges Mary has endured over the last two years, she is extremely grateful for the advances being made in myeloma research that have given her a new lease on life. “Being diagnosed with myeloma was a huge surprise,” Mary explains. “It took me some time to accept that I had a cancer that I’ve never heard of before. I try to live a normal life. Although I’ve had to let go of certain dreams I had for the future, I’m just so thankful to still be alive,” she says.

To help raise awareness and funds, as well as better access to life-saving treatments and care for this incurable cancer, Mary will be participating in the 5th annual 5km Hamilton-Niagara Multiple Myeloma March on Saturday, September 10, 2022, at 9 a.m., at Edgewater Pavilion.

“Every year, we’re getting closer to finding a cure,” says Martine Elias, Executive Director of Myeloma Canada. “That’s why the funds raised at the Hamilton-Niagara Multiple Myeloma March are so critical. They help to keep myeloma research moving forward and to improve the lives of Canadians impacted by this devastating disease.”

About the Multiple Myeloma March

The Hamilton-Niagara Multiple Myeloma March is one of 34+ communities across the country participating in Myeloma Canada’s 14th annual nation-wide event. For Canadians not located near a physical March or who wish to participate on their own, there is also a Virtual March option. The Hamilton event has set their financial goal at $60,000. Myeloma Canada’s national Multiple Myeloma March objective is to raise $750,000.

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