The past two days I have shared my admiration for two very special multiple myeloma survivors I know from Minnesota. Today I would like to write about a third. Minnesota Don, as he is called, writes an exceptional weekly blog. Don is part of a research study featuring pomalidomide. Pomalidomide is a newer, hopefully improved version of Revlimid. The study is being run by myeloma docs at the Mayo Clinic. All reports are this drug is working well—both for Don and most others in the study.
Don is quiet and unassuming. Although he is 69 years old, you wouldn’t know it! His wonderful wife and daughter help keep him young. So does his passion for running! Don has run 42 marathons in 26 different states, all since his initial myeloma diagnosis. Much of that time he was “smoldering,” but Don has run 15 marathons in 11 different states since his actual treatment began. Don ran in Kansas three weeks ago, and Wyoming is next!
Don and his wife, who he affectionately refers to as “Sunshine,” were the first myeloma patients and caregivers I ever met after my initial diagnosis. Don invited me to join them for lunch at an IMF Family and Patient Seminar at the Woman’s Club in St. Paul in May of 2007. I had so many questions—I was so, so stressed and concerned—as any newly diagnosed cancer patient is apt to be. Don and Sunshine patiently listened and tried to answer my questions the best they could. Later, when I was starting to write my first book, Living with Multiple Myeloma, Don was very insightful, sharing what he thought were important points to cover about patient challenges and concerns.
Don is working hard to try and help the IMF secure equitable funding for multiple myeloma patients who use oral chemotherapy meds. Check out his blog, Myeloma Hope, if you get a chance. It is one of the best around–full of stats, pictures, charts and easy to understand explanations of complicated medical jargon. Keep up the great work, Don!
Don works tirelessly to help other multiple myeloma patients. Don runs tirelessly toward his goal of completing at least one full marathon in all 50 states. Don is a quiet inspiration for all cancer patients. Multiple myeloma hasn’t slowed him down! I am proud to call Don, his wife, Sunshine, and daughter, Sweet Pea, my friends.
I have chosen to write about multiple myeloma patients I know best from my former home based support group in Stillwater, Minnesota. (I have since moved to Florida.) Tomorrow we will take a break and catch up on some more technical myeloma related news. I will continue this series Friday, featuring a special patient from Texas. Feel good and keep smiling! Pat