Cancer survivor Dan Childerhose kicked off the walk he co-founded 15-years ago.
“Since 2008, I’ve had multiple myeloma,” says Childerhose, 73, prior to the annual Walk of Champions in Dorchester, Ont.
Each year, an estimated 4,000 Canadians will be diagnosed and 1,650 will die from the incurable cancer.
“It chews little holes in your bone marrow, and that’s what causes it to sometimes go in your lungs, your liver, your bones, that’s why they call it multiple myeloma because exposed to different parts of your body,” says Childerhose.
Until recently people lived just 2-5 years after diagnosis but now some patients like Childershose and Ev McDowell are defying the odds.
Dan Childerhose co-founded the Walk of Champions 15 years ago, after being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma (Source: Brent Lale/CTV London)McDowell, 69, is going on 23 years since her initial diagnosis.
“I co-founded the London and District Myeloma support group in 2002 and most of the people that were in the group then have passed so I feel extremely fortunate,” says McDowell.
And while those two are lucky to be alive today, Lisa Bowden is hoping her future looks the same.
“They’re (Dan and Ev) an inspiration truly,” says Bowden.
The 59-year-old is going on six years since her doctor caught it during routine bloodwork necessary for a life insurance policy renewal.
“My hematologist said I was lucky because it was caught so early,” says Bowden. “I had no symptoms, so I ended up in treatment right away and they say that’s very, very good. So yes, I have cancer but I was lucky.”
Lisa Bowden (Centre) is living with Multiple Myeloma after being diagnosed with the incurable cancer six years ago (Source: Brent Lale/CTV London)
In the 15 years since Chiderhose, and the late Keith Fleming started the walk, they’ve raised more than one million dollars for research.
“When we first started the walk, our money used to go to Toronto to Princess Margaret because they were the only ones that did the research,” says Childerhose.
“Now we’re doing research in London, so we’re keeping our money here.”
Money and effort that is going to hope for a longer life.
“23 years ago when I was diagnosed there was only one drug really that they were using all the time other than the transplant,” says McDowell.
“A couple years later, they had a drug for relapsed myeloma, and then another one a few years later and another one and now the number of options now that people have is pretty impressive.”
Advancements that have people like Bowden staying optimistic.
“I am confident they are going to find a cure and I’m hoping it’s in my lifetime,” says Bowden.
“We’ve got so much going on in the research here in London specifically where our walk proceeds are going. They are doing amazing things, and there is a future.”
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