Music teacher Jocelyn Kervin's life was changed in 2019 when doctors diagnosed her with multiple myeloma.
The Toronto resident who hails from Newmarket has had to combat the blood cancer since and is now undergoing a second round of treatment after the cyclical disease abated for some time.
But none of that has stopped Kervin from wanting to do her part to raise money and spirits in the fight against the illness.
“I, fortunately, have a really great support system of family and friends, so we’ve always kept a positive outlook,” she said. “That idea of one foot in front of the other and keep rolling with it.”
Those family and friends will be part of Kervin’s group for the fifth annual Newmarket Myeloma March Sept 24. Part of a series of annual marches held by the charity Myeloma Canada, the effort seeks to bring funding for research and awareness.
Kervin has participated since she was got diagnosed in 2019 and said she has family march in Newmarket, Cobourg and Moncton.
Myeloma Canada executive director Martine Elias said countless Canadians have symptoms but do not get diagnosed for months or even years.
“This has to change,” Elias said. “That’s why events like the Newmarket Multiple Myeloma March are so crucial. The more people who know about this complicated disease, the earlier they may be diagnosed and treated, for better outcomes. The March raises awareness and vital funds to improve the lives of Canadians impacted by myeloma, and move us closer to a cure.”
Living with the disease is a challenge, Kervin said. After taking a medical leave of absence from her job at Markville Secondary School in Markham, she went through months of chemotherapy and then a stem cell transplant surgery. In February 2022, she received what is known as a “complete response,” as close to remission as possible with myeloma.
But the disease resurfaced for her again in July 2022, requiring another round of treatments.
“There’s no question, it’s frustration. But at the same time, the treatments have improved so much,” Kervin said. “Some days I feel normal, great, wonderful. Other days, I feel like crap. It depends on whether it’s a treatment day or a regular, non-treatment day.”
Kervin added that she is thankful to have a strong family behind her, taking part in different marches across the country.
“Throughout the entire journey, they’ve always been there for me in amazing ways,” she said.
Newmarket is one of 40 communities that participated in annual walks, which have been going on for 15 years. The Newmarket event hopes to raise $50,000 for this year’s event. Kervin’s team, Jocelyn’s Joggers, hope to raise $5,000.
Kervin said she hopes "that we really are able to bring more awareness … ideally, we’ll have a lot of people come out and share the day with us and learn.”
The event will begin at 11 a.m. at Riverwalk Commons Sept. 24.
You can register, find more information and donate through support.myeloma.ca.