73-Year Old Cancer Patient To Run In The Little Rock Marathon At The Start Of Myeloma Awareness Month – His 79th Marathon With Myeloma
North Hollywood, CA – February 27, 2014 – The International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) – improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure – today said marathoner Don Wright is on his way to running 100 marathons, even though he is 73 years old and is undergoing treatment for cancer. Don will be running in the 12th annual Little Rock, Arkansas Marathon on March 2nd at the start of Myeloma Awareness Month. Don began running marathons at the time he was diagnosed with the blood cancer multiple myeloma in 2003. It will be his 79th marathon since then; Don completed his 78th marathon in New Orleans in February. Don will cap Myeloma Awareness Month with his milestone 80th marathon in Ann Arbor, Michigan on March 30th.
“I’m able to do this because of the medical innovations that provide long-term disease management for so many of us,” said Don Wright. “I live my life almost as if there were no cancer, without frequent clinic visits for intravenous infusions and, in my case, without disabling side effects.”
Since his diagnosis, Don has run at least one marathon in each of the 50 states in the US, reaching that goal in Hawaii in December 2012. Three key factors make this possible: Don’s remarkable stamina; the support of his wife of 50 years and their adult daughter—both of whom travel with Don and are runners themselves; and new treatments for myeloma, including an oral medication that leaves Don free to travel around the country.
Don added, “I still have to train for the marathons and that has been difficult because of the bitter cold this winter where I live in Minnesota. I actually got pretty sick. But as soon as the doctor gave me the OK, I spent two hours clearing the snow, so I’ll be more than ready.”
Don runs under the E-Race Cancer banner, a social media campaign that has been raising awareness of multiple myeloma on behalf of a variety of charities over the years. Don is pleased to be running now on behalf of the Black Swan Research Initiative®, a project of the International Myeloma Foundation to advance the standard of treatment to eradicate all residual disease. Donations may be made to the IMF at www.myeloma.org.
Myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a cancer of cells in the bone marrow that affects production of blood cells and can damage bone. Don takes an oral cancer drug called POMALYST® that is approved for myeloma patients when other treatments have stopped working.
To mark Myeloma Awareness Month the IMF also has several activities planned to provide vital, up-to-date information to patients and opportunities to hear directly from experts:
- The IMF’s signature Patient & Family Seminar in Boca Raton, FL; live and available via live-streaming on the Internet (February 28 to March 1)
- Living Well with Myeloma Teleconference Series (March 13)
- Two Community Workshops – Portland, OR (March 8) and Ft. Myers, FL (March 22)
Myeloma Awareness Month: http://mam.myeloma.org/
E-Race Cancer: www.facebook.com/eRaceCancer and http://twitter.com/eRaceCancer
Don’s running blog http://minnesotadon.blogspot.com/
Don’s myeloma blog http://myelomahope.blogspot.com/
International Myeloma Foundation
Debra Gendel, 310-710-1903
Deanne Eagle, 917-837-5866