Alyssa Dickey could never have imagined that at just 32 years old she would receive the life-changing diagnosis of an incurable blood cancer.
Alyssa, a Government of Ontario employee, had been experiencing unusual symptoms for nearly two years leading up to her shocking diagnosis: extreme fatigue, an inability to shake infections, and unexplained pain and numbing in her hands and feet. It wasn’t until she lost consciousness in January 2010 and was rushed to the emergency department that Alyssa knew something was seriously wrong. After undergoing a battery of tests, Alyssa received the heartbreaking news that she had multiple myeloma, a little-known and as of yet, incurable blood cancer that 11 Canadians are diagnosed with every day.
Alyssa underwent intensive chemotherapy in preparation for a stem cell transplant for the myeloma. The stem cell transplant was a success, and Alyssa spent the next seven years in remission. During that time, in 2015, Alyssa gave birth to her son, Elliot, a now boisterous and athletic eight-year-old, whom Alyssa refers to as her ‘miracle’.
In 2017, test results revealed that Alyssa’s myeloma had resurfaced. Doctors recommended that she undergo a second stem cell transplant, which she did the following year. Thankfully, the second transplant was also a success; Alyssa was thrilled to learn that she was once again, back in remission. To help keep the myeloma in check, Alyssa began maintenance therapy. Unfortunately, Alyssa experienced such severe side effects from the maintenance therapy that her quality of life was seriously compromised. After much deliberation, Alyssa made the difficult decision to stop all treatment eighteen months ago and is being monitored very closely.
Alyssa’s side effects have subsided and her condition is currently stable. She’s thrilled to finally be able to begin her transition back to work after a five-year leave of absence. Alyssa was also looking forward to travelling to Mexico with a few friends for a yoga retreat, but sadly, just before the trip, she fell down the stairs and fractured her spine in two places, forcing her to cancel her trip and delay her plans to return to work.
Grateful for the medical treatments that have given her a third lease on life, Alyssa, along with her husband Garrett, son Elliott, and sister Jocelyn, are gearing up to take part in the 2nd Annual Niagara Region Myeloma Canada Ride: Bike to Beat Myeloma. The Ride takes place May 7, 2023, at Port Robinson Community Hall in Thorold, at 8:30 a.m., and helps to raise myeloma awareness and vital funds for a cure.
The Niagara Region Myeloma Canada Ride promises to be a fun and fulfilling event for cyclists of varying levels, with a shorter, more leisurely 30–40 km route, and a more challenging 70+ km route. To register or donate, visit: www.myelomaride.ca
Funds raised through The Myeloma Canada Ride are invested in curing and preventing myeloma through investment in Canadian research, best care by accelerating equitable access to the best healthcare and treatments, and improving lives by empowering and supporting all Canadians impacted by myeloma.
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