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For the past three years, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Road to Victories bike ride – sponsored by Janssen Oncology – has been an important event in the race to find a cure. The MMRF is a nonprofit organization that funds research and development of critical treatments for multiple myeloma patients.
This annual ride brings together patients, healthcare professionals and caregivers to raise funds for critical research and build awareness for this rare form of blood cancer.
This year’s cycling journey begins in Vermont and ends across the Canadian border in Quebec. It is no coincidence that the event will take place during Blood Cancer Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness for multiple myeloma and other types of blood cancers.
Like the ups and downs of an up to 300+ mile, six-day bike ride, multiple myeloma – an incurable form of blood cancer that affects more than 131,000 people in the United States – also has its ups and downs. Multiple myeloma is known to have both remissions – during which the disease is under control – and relapses, when the disease becomes active and progresses.
Multiple myeloma damages a type of white blood cell called a plasma cell, found mostly in bone marrow, often resulting in bone pain, fractures and extreme fatigue. Although multiple myeloma currently has no cure, treatments are available to help manage the disease, and organizations like the MMRF continue to offer hope to patients.
For those who join the annual Road to Victories ride, it’s personal. One rider, Matt Stella, lost a lifelong best friend to multiple myeloma after a 13-year battle. After his friend’s passing, Stella was inspired to honor his friend’s legacy and raise awareness for this disease by participating in this year’s ride. He also has a professional tie to the cause, working as the national policy and advocacy director at Janssen Oncology, a leading company committed to bringing transformational cancer solutions to the people who need them.
When Stella found out about Road to Victories, he was eager to become a part of it, “While I can’t say Greg’s passing had a direct impact on my career decisions, I can attest to the direct emotional attachment and motivation that I – like so many of my colleagues – have to help change the lives of patients who are battling cancer. When the opportunity was presented to me to participate in this event, I knew immediately I wanted to join the team in honor of my friend.”
Along with a team of 30 riders, Stella and his coworkers are embarking on Road to Victories for those fighting the battle against myeloma. “Multiple myeloma is a formidable disease but there is hope knowing that many people in the myeloma community are devoted to fighting this disease,” said Stella. “It’s funny how your worlds can collide. I never expected to have my work life so deeply connected to my personal life. I’m glad that I can ride in my friend’s honor and memory.”
While progress has been made in the diagnosis, treatment and management of multiple myeloma, there is more work to be done. Together, the MMRF and Janssen are striving to achieve victories over cancer, and Road to Victories is a time for people in the myeloma community to come together as they ride toward a cure.
To learn more about the Road to Victories team and efforts, visit RoadToVictories.com.
For more information about multiple myeloma, including treatment options, lifestyle tips, support and resources for patients and caregivers, visit cancer.com.