Myeloma Canada says patients, families and friends unite across Canada in September to raise awareness of myeloma, and highlight the important advances being made in treatment

--11 Communities across Canada to Take Part in Multiple Myeloma Marches during Blood Cancer Awareness Month--

MONTREAL, Sept. 18, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - This month, people in 11 locations across six provinces will be marching together to "make myeloma matter".  Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a blood cancer that affects cells in the bone marrow.  Seven new cases are diagnosed each day in Canada and the disease remains incurable, but new treatments are providing new hope for patients.  The Marches will take place on September 23rd and 30th.  September is national blood cancer month in Canada.

"It's essential for patients to know about treatment advances including drugs such as Revlimid and Velcade that are dramatically changing lives", said Aldo Del Col, Co-founder & Executive Director of Myeloma Canada.  "Dr. Donna Reece at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto has even reported that newer, more tolerable drugs can be used for long-term maintenance therapy that may eventually transform myeloma into a chronic disease.  Nevertheless, myeloma is not curable and we need to support more research and fight for approval of even newer drugs as they become available".

The Marches began in 2009 in Montreal, expanded to six cities last year, and this year will take place in 11 communities across Canada led by patients, families and friends, each with a dramatic story of courage and survival.

  • In Saskatoon the March is led by the family of George Ferguson who was hospitalized for more than three months with life threatening complications after he was diagnosed in May 2010. Since then, thanks to promising new treatments, he celebrated his son's wedding this year.
  • In Winnipeg, Heidy Foot says "life is a journey…sometimes we can choose the path we want to take and sometimes we are forced to take a certain path due to illness or family circumstance".  Heidy's path leads her to march in honour of her Aunt Maggie who has been battling myeloma for the past six years.
  • In Quebec sisters Laurie and Maude Carrier will lead the March in honour of their father, who was near death in the emergency room by the time he was diagnosed.  He too has overcome many obstacles since his diagnosis, and the family says Myeloma Canada gave them "unwavering hope", as they struggled to return to normal lives.
  • In Windsor-Essex County, Emma Roung asks, "why should we care about this disease with the unfamiliar name? Because, when my husband was diagnosed in 2010 we had trouble getting information even from health professionals. So I am leading a March to raise awareness in memory of my husband and on behalf of the nearly 50 Canadians diagnosed with myeloma every week".

These and other patient stories  personify winning strategies in the fight against cancer that Dr. Andrew Belch of the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton has described as "finally moving the goal posts" in treating myeloma.

The first March was held this year on September 16th in Halifax.  Upcoming Marches will be held on September 23rd in Mississauga, Ottawa-Gatineau, Saskatoon, Sault Ste. Marie, St. John's and Winnipeg; and on September 30th in Montreal, Quebec City, Saguenay and Windsor Essex-County. Details can be found at www.myelomamarch.ca.

About Myeloma Canada

Myeloma Canada is the only national organization exclusively devoted to the Canadian myeloma community. As a patient-driven, patient-focused organization, Myeloma Canada has been making myeloma matter since 2004, working with leading myeloma researchers and clinicians as well as other cancer organizations and local support groups across Canada. Myeloma Canada seeks to strengthen the voice of the Canadian myeloma community and improve the quality of life of myeloma patients, their caregivers and families through education, awareness, advocacy and research.

Myeloma Canada is making myeloma matter for the over 7,000 Canadians affected by this incurable, yet increasingly treatable cancer by:

  • Providing educational resources and support to patients, their families and caregivers
  • Increasing awareness of the disease and its effects on the lives of patients and families
  • Advancing research and promoting access to new drug trials in Canada
  • Facilitating access to new therapies, treatment options and health care resources

About Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma (or simply myeloma) is a rare cancer of the bone marrow affecting production of red cells, white cells and platelets, and can lead to anaemia, infections, renal failure, bone damage and severe pain. Every day, seven more Canadians are diagnosed with this incurable but increasingly treatable cancer.

New drugs have been successful in extending the lives of patients, but the reality is that myeloma remains a fatal disease and more needs to be done to advance the search for a cure.

SOURCE: MYELOMA CANADA

For further information:

Victoria Pickering
T: 514-426-5885  or  T: 1-888-798-5771
vpickering@myeloma.ca

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