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Making Miles Matter for Myeloma: One Young Canadian's Multi-Marathon Effort

Favourite aunt inspires five marathon-run to get Canadians talking about hope for her incurable blood cancer

EDMONTON, Aug. 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Starting on Sunday, August 24 Nelson Wiebe, a 24-year old student from Edmonton, will run the first of five marathons to help raise awareness about multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer.  Nelson's Aunt Ruth was diagnosed with the disease in 2010 and he felt compelled to take steps toward raising hope and broad awareness of this lesser-known cancer. 

Those steps have inspired Making Miles Matter for Myeloma: Run for Ruth, a series of marathons across Canada, during which Nelson will start a conversation with Canadians about the importance of understanding the disease, and how each small step – or mile – can contribute to better outcomes for those living with multiple myeloma.  Nelson hopes that all Canadians will come out on race day or follow him through social media to make this journey personal – and run, cheer, or support – someone they know.  

"I didn't just want to accept this diagnosis; I wanted to take action," says Nelson. "So many Canadians are touched by cancer in some way, and while I will be running for my Aunt Ruth I know many others will be motivated by a person in their life, whether it's a friend or a family member.  We are capable of great progress when we come together to share our experiences, our understanding and our resources."

Help Make Each Mile Matter – Join the Conversation Coast to Coast

Following the Edmonton Marathon, Nelson will run races in other cities across Canada including:

  • Huffin' Puffin Marathon, St. John's Newfoundland; September 21, 2014 
  • Oasis Rock'n Roll Marathon, Montreal, Quebec; September 28, 2014
  • Ottawa Fall Colours Marathon in Ottawa, Ontario; October 12, 2014
  • New Balance Fall Classic Vancouver Marathon, Vancouver, British Columbia; November 16, 2014

Canadians can track the campaign and each of Nelson's marathons in real-time on Facebook and Twitter.  Residents in each of the five cities can run, walk, rally at the starting line, and share Nelson's progress through social media all in support of Myeloma Canada at www.myeloma.ca or www.makingmilesmatter4myeloma.ca.

"This campaign is so important because we need to raise the profile of multiple myeloma. Myeloma Canada invests a significant amount of time in awareness and patient education initiatives and advocating for access to new treatments. When it comes to new treatments, the myeloma community depends on the latest advances to extend the lives of patients," says Francine Gendron, Chief Executive Officer of Myeloma Canada. "We invite all Canadians to come out to cheer for Nelson as he completes this incredible feat to help make myeloma matter in the hearts and minds of Canadians."

Nelson's motivation

In 2013 Nelson created a narrative that was used for a university scholarship submission.  In his own words, Nelson tells us what inspired him to embark on the Making Miles Matter for Myeloma: Run for Ruth journey.

My aunt has cancer, advanced cancer. That was a tough truth to come to terms with. The whole family talked about it, saying that all we could do was be supportive and stay positive. I started wracking my brain for ideas on how to make a difference until I finally came to the conclusion that if Terry Fox could do it, then so could I. Currently we are working on a project that would have me running marathons in Canada in order to raise awareness, support, and research money for multiple myeloma cancer patients. Through this endeavour my world will certainly be changed for the better through increased support for cancer patients, as well as support for those who truly need it.

"Myeloma Canada is proud that Nelson has taken charge to raise awareness of multiple myeloma, a disease that affects many but is known by few. It's so important that research continue because patients rely on new treatments to continue their fight – and research requires funds," says Aldo Del Col, Co-founder & Co-chair, Myeloma Canada. "It's truly inspirational and we are pleased to support Nelson with every mile he runs to help make myeloma matter."

The Making Miles Matter for Myeloma: Run for Ruth program was made possible thanks to a generous grant from Celgene Inc.

Myeloma in Canada

Every day, seven more Canadians are diagnosed with multiple myeloma1 and every year nearly 1,400 die from this incurable disease2. Although there are approximately 7,500 Canadiansliving with multiple myeloma3, it remains a relatively unknown disease.  While multiple myeloma is the second most prevalent blood cancer after non-Hodgkin lymphoma4, there remains a strong need for education and awareness, especially since only 15 per cent of Canadians are able to properly identify multiple myeloma as a blood cancer.5

About Myeloma Canada

Myeloma Canada is a registered non-profit organization created by, and for, people living with multiple myeloma. As the only national organization exclusively devoted to the Canadian myeloma community, Myeloma Canada has been making myeloma matter since its founding in 2005.

Working with leading myeloma researchers and clinicians across Canada and the world, as well as other cancer associations, government organizations and local support groups from coast to coast, Myeloma Canada seeks to strengthen the voice of the Canadian myeloma community and improve the quality of life of multiple myeloma patients, their caregivers and families through education, awareness, advocacy and research.

---------------------------------

1 Myeloma Canada. About myeloma.  Available at: http://www.myelomacanada.ca/en/aboutmyeloma.htm Accessed August 18, 2014.
2  Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014. Available at:http://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/cancer%20information/cancer%20101/Canadian%20cancer%20statistics/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2014-EN.pdf Page 45. Accessed August 18, 2014
3 Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014. Available at: http://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/cancer%20information/cancer%20101/Canadian%20cancer%20statistics/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2014-EN.pdf Page 72. Accessed August 18, 2014
4 Canadian Cancer Society. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2014. Available at: http://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/cancer%20information/cancer%20101/Canadian%20cancer%20statistics/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2014-EN.pdf Page 69. Accessed August 18, 2014.
5 Myeloma Canada Ipsos Reid Survey. August 2013.

SOURCE Myeloma Canada

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