PHILADELPHIA & CARLSBAD, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PATIENT POWER® - educating, informing and advocating for patients - today said Don Wright will join fellow myeloma patients and their families in Philadelphia on April 22nd to personify the progress and possibilities that continue to improve the lives of patients with cancer.
In 2003 Don, who lives in Minnesota, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare cancer that affects cells in the bone marrow. At the time he was given less than five years to live, but instead of giving up, Don began running marathons, and in Philadelphia last November, at age 75, he reached his goal of 100 marathons with cancer. Now he’s coming back to the city, this time for an event by and for fellow myeloma patients as they race to show that a diagnosis does not have to be the end of the road.
“The outlook for many of us gets better every year as more advanced treatments become available,” says Phil Falkowitz, a Philadelphia-area myeloma patient who was diagnosed 20 years ago this month. “Not everyone does as well as we do, but Don’s dramatic achievements help us encourage continued medical progress, so more and more of our fellow patients can share in the extended good health and improved longevity that is changing the course of this disease.”
Andrew Schorr, Co-Founder and President of Patient Power, who is also a 20-year cancer survivor, says, “I recently attended a meeting of the President’s Cancer Panel, where the chairperson said that we don’t want to discourage medical progress, but to encourage the development of valuable medicines and delivery systems. Don’s running certainly reinforces those words, which is why we are pleased to support his running and proud that he supports us in return.”
Don, whose campaign is called eRace Cancer on social media, has set aside running in marathons for a few months. Instead he is taking part in 5k and 10k runs to build muscle and endurance, all part of maintaining good health. The shorter races also mean more people can join in without the rigorous training needed for marathons. Miles for Myeloma will involve more than a thousand participants running and walking through some of the most picturesque sections of Philadelphia.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to the scene of my personal triumph, 100 marathons with cancer, and humbled to be running alongside so many fellow patients and their supporters this time around,” says Don Wright, who turned 76 years old in January. “I love the city, the parks and the people and I’m glad to be running to raise awareness of new treatments for rare cancers.”
Not everyone can run even these shorter distances. Phil Falkowitz notes his myeloma has destroyed his lower back vertebra, so he stays in shape by going to the gym twice a week for low impact exercise.
But Phil adds, “The key message here is not what we can’t do, but to concentrate on what we can achieve. I find it interesting that the younger, healthier runners race through the course as fast as they can, while the rest of us know it’s OK to go slower, so we can take in what life is all about.”
The race begins at 8:30am on Saturday, April 22 at the Memorial Hall/Please Touch Museum. Phil will introduce Don for a brief pep talk before the race begins.