During a strenuous but spectacular hike, a team including four patients is traversing Nepal’s Khumbu region, encountering some of the world’s tallest mountains, and experiencing Sherpa culture, all in the name of raising awareness of multiple myeloma, and funding research to defeat it.
A collaboration between CURE Media Group and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM) is making possible the Oct. 26-Nov. 8 trip (nine days hiking) to Mount Everest’s base camp. The Amgen-sponsored trek includes some 16 individuals from different backgrounds.
The four participants with multiple myeloma include Joe Beeler of Bloomfield, Colorado, who was diagnosed in 2016; Jim Detwiler of Union, Kentucky, an educator for more than 20 years; Pierre Jambon of Akron, Ohio, who is in remission; and Jeff Stiles of Kodak, Tennessee, who was diagnosed in 2014 and is taking the trip to motivate others.
Other participants will include caregivers, physicians, clinicians, and nurses. Each team member agreed to raise at least $10,000 each, according to the MMRF.
During the hike, participants sleep chiefly in Nepalese teahouses. Herds of Sherpa yaks will carry much of the team’s gear. No special equipment or training is required.
In the last two years, MM4MM has raised about $1.9 million for MMRF to advance the development of multiple myeloma therapies, undertaking 10 journeys over five continents. The first MM4MM adventure was a Kilimanjaro climb. This May, participants hiked deep into the Grand Canyon.
“Supporting these fundraising challenges is consistent with CURE Media Group’s longstanding mission to empower patients,” Michael J. Hennessy Jr., president of MJH Associates, parent company of CURE Media Group, said in a press release. The group’s offerings include CURE magazine, a widely read consumer magazine focused wholly on cancer.
“We applaud the efforts of the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma team as they take on this challenging and truly inspiring journey to reach the Mount Everest base camp,” said Christopher Bourdon, vice president and general manager of Amgen’s business unit. “We are dedicated to advancing multiple myeloma research. We also recognize that reaching new heights in the fight against multiple myeloma is a team effort, and we are proud to be part of this initiative with the MMRF and CURE.”
Founded in 1998, the nonprofit MMRF funds innovation that advances development of treatments to help patients live longer, with the ultimate goal of curing multiple myeloma. To date, it has raised more than $400 million.
“As a patient-founded organization, the MMRF stands together with those who are battling multiple myeloma — patients, families, physicians, researchers and our pharmaceutical partners,” said Paul Giusti, MMRF chief executive officer. “This team represents a microcosm of that myeloma community and demonstrates that together, we can collaborate with ever-increasing momentum toward a cure.”