Six years ago, Auburn native Meredith Powell’s mother, Dianne, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. This August, Powell will participate in a hike of a lifetime to honor her mother and raise awareness for those in her shoes.
Powell will join the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma program and travel to Iceland on Aug. 7 for a multi-day hike. The program, which is a collaboration between CURE Media Group and the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, raises awareness and funds for myeloma research.
Since its creation in 2016, the program has raised nearly $2.5 million, 100% of which goes directly to cancer research.
“My mom was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2013, just three months after her 50th birthday. It was found by chance when she was having blood work done to obtain long-term-care insurance,” Powell said. “I want there to be a cure so badly, and I believe the MMRF can do that. I believe a cure is in the near future.
“Treks like this can help bring awareness to multiple myeloma and raise money toward the cure that my mother and so many others so desperately hope for.”
Powell will be taking on a challenging five-day hike that is often referred to as “Fire and Ice” because hikers will come across lava fields and volcanoes as well as glaciers on a single day. The hikers must be prepared physically for seven to eight hours of hiking each day as they venture past mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, hot springs, gorges, lava beds and waterfalls.
The MMRF was created to accelerate cancer research — particularly for multiple myeloma — and speed the development and approval of new treatments. Multiple myeloma, which is incurable, is the second-most common blood cancer after non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Patients, caregivers, myeloma doctors, nurses and loved ones take on challenging mountains such as Mount Kilimanjaro, the Grand Canyon, Peru’s Machu Picchu, Mount Fuji and a Mount Everest base camp to demonstrate that the advancements being made are helping patients live longer with a higher quality of life.
“We have found ways to get the impossible done with events like Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma,” said Jane Hoffmann, the associate director of MMRF’s Team for Cures. “The success of these events is directly correlated to the passion of each hiker who not only takes on the challenge of these hikes but makes a difference in the lives of patients with multiple myeloma. These caring individuals reach out to their friends, co-workers, and family members, who in turn contribute whatever amount they can.
“Everyone walks away from these events inspired and rewarded knowing they’ve positively impacted the lives of patients.”
Powell has watched as her mother has endured the quarterly blood tests and waited in fear for the results. Powell also has seen her mother’s physical ability deteriorate to the point in which she tires after simple tasks such as washing and drying her hair.
“I know that my mom would love to do a trek like this to raise awareness of the disease, but physically, a trek like this would be nearly impossible,” Powell said. “I am trekking in honor of my mom and to raise awareness of the cancer that affects her and thousands of other patients.”
Powell is raising funds with a goal set at $7,500. To learn more, visit https://endurance.themmrf.org/2019Iceland/meredith.