MULTIPLE MYELOMA MARCH
Self-proclaimed sports junkie Nic Ahola loves to watch and play tennis, golf and hockey, and spend time with his wife, Kristy. During a routine physical in 2016, Nic’s doctor was concerned with the results of his blood tests. At the time, Nic felt fine and wasn’t too worried. He followed his doctor’s advice and underwent a series of tests, including a bone marrow biopsy. To his surprise, he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a little-known and incurable blood cancer of the plasma cells. He was 40.
Nic’s diagnosis came two years after he and Kristy got married. “It was a real shock and the scariest time of our lives,” says Kristy. “Like so many people, we had never heard of myeloma or suspected that Nic was even sick. It was a really difficult time, but he stayed positive and kept his head held high.”
For two years after his diagnosis, Nic’s health was stable and he did not require treatment. During this period, he was monitored very closely for any changes in his health, and the young couple were able to live relatively normal lives.
Then in 2018, Nic started having paralyzing back pain. Tests revealed that spinal lesions had caused severe damage to two of the bones in his back and that the cancer was now active. To stay a step ahead of the disease, Nic had more than 16 weeks of induction and high-dose chemotherapy, followed by two stem cell transplants. Although the recovery has been difficult, Nic is on a maintenance treatment program and is slowly getting stronger.
“I am so hopeful that Nic is going to pull through this. The research has been amazing with so many new breakthrough treatment options becoming available to patients,” says Kristy.
Nic has resumed playing tennis and is hopeful that he and Kristy will be able to focus more of their time and energy building their waste management consulting business and travelling together sometime soon.
Kristy is determined to do her part to help create awareness and raise funds for myeloma so that research continues to stay one step ahead of the disease and new drug therapies continue to be developed until a cure is found. As such, Kristy will be leading the 1st annual Newmarket Multiple Myeloma March taking place Sunday, Sept. 22 at 9 a.m., starting at Newmarket Riverwalk Commons.
The Multiple Myeloma March is Myeloma Canada’s flagship fundraiser. Myeloma Canada, a charitable organization, is driven to improve the lives of those impacted by myeloma and to support research toward finding a cure. In its 11th year, the five-kilometre walk/run plays a crucial role in making this happen.
“Myeloma patients have seen their treatment options increase exponentially over the past decade. Thanks to major strides in research, not only has quality of life improved but we’re encouraged to say that life expectancies have more than doubled in the past 15 years and this is continuing on an upward trend,” says Dr. Peter Anglin, Principal Investigator at the Southlake Regional Health Centre.
“We’re now seeing incredibly promising treatment options that are helping us to stay ahead of the disease, such as CAR T-Cell therapy, Bi-specific T-cell engagers (BiTEs), immunotherapies, and many more advances that are in development. For the first time, we can actually say that we’re getting closer to finding a cure. Investing in research is critical, which is why raising funds is more important than ever.”
Newmarket is one of a record 28 communities across Canada participating in this year’s Multiple Myeloma March. Newmarket’s fundraising objective is $15,000.
“The annual Multiple Myeloma March is not just a fun, but essential, community-building and fundraising event. Through the march, those whose lives have been touched by myeloma get to meet and connect with one another while raising funds for advancing critical clinical research. Each step taken is one that brings us closer to finding a cure,” said Martine Elias, Executive Director of Myeloma Canada.
About Myeloma Canada’s Multiple Myeloma March
The Multiple Myeloma March is the flagship fundraiser for Myeloma Canada. This year marks the 11th anniversary of its inception and will include a record 28 communities across Canada participating in the event. The national fundraising goal has been set at $550,000. For a complete list of communities hosting a Multiple Myeloma March, or to donate, please visit myelomamarch.ca.
Multiple myeloma, also known as myeloma, is the second most common form of blood cancer. Myeloma affects a type of immune cell called the plasma cell, found in the bone marrow. Every day, eight Canadians are diagnosed, yet in spite of its growing prevalence, the disease remains relatively unknown. While there is no cure, people with myeloma are living longer and better lives, thanks to recent breakthroughs in treatment. To find the cure, more funding and research are required. Learn more here: www.myeloma.ca.
About Myeloma Canada
Myeloma Canada is the only national charitable organization created by and for Canadians impacted by multiple myeloma. The organization is driven to improve the lives of those affected by myeloma by empowering the community through awareness, education and advocacy programs, and supporting clinical research to find the cure. Since its founding in 2005, Myeloma Canada has been making myeloma matter. Learn more here: www.myeloma.ca.