Sask. woman reflects on cancer journey before leading inaugural Multiple Myeloma March – News Talk 980 CJME

Southey's Mona Neher is leading the inaugural Multiple Myeloma March in Regina on Sept. 22, 2019. (Mona Neher/Submitted)

For the past decade, Mona Neher has wanted to hold a Multiple Myeloma March in Regina but she knew she couldnt do it alone.

This weekend, with help from others who have the same cancer, the Southey woman is making her dream a reality.

Neher was first diagnosed with myeloma (a form of blood cancer that targets plasma cells) in 2006 two years after fracturing her tailbone and ribs in a horseback-riding accident.

I had rib pain and fatigue, and I was wondering why this was going on, so I went to my doctor. Eventually, he sent me for X-rays and the X-rays came back with multiple myeloma, she remembered in an interview earlier this week.

At 39 years old with a young family at home, Neher said the diagnosis left her in a state of shock.

In the months that followed, she drove to Saskatoon for a stem cell transplant. With the help of the surgery and a phase two clinical medication trial, Neher launched into remission and back into the workforce as a registered nurse for 10 years.

In 2015, that familiar fatigue and pain picked up again, signalling that the cancer had returned. A year later, Neher underwent a second stem cell transplant that helped transition her back into remission, where she remains today.

While shes no longer working as a nurse, Neher now has a full-time job as an advocate, helping raise awareness about myeloma and holding support group meetings for those with the disease.

It might be a different type of myeloma (for each support group member) but we do understand what each other is going through and it just gives you strength to carry on, she explained.

With help from some of those support group members, Neher is leading the inaugural Multiple Myeloma March in Regina on Sunday. It starts at 10 a.m. at the RCMP Heritage Centre.

Neher said the event is a longtime coming; she has wanted to hold a march since it first originated 11 years ago.

Ive very happy about it and emotional about it, too, that it has finally come to this point. Im excited, she said.

Neher said there are two main goals of the five-kilometre walk: To raise $10,000 for research toward finding a cure to myeloma, and to help connect those newly diagnosed with the cancer.

I want (others with myeloma) to be positive and I know thats not necessarily what somebody wants to hear sometimes but there is hope, she encouraged. I know Im grateful for where Im at today, but it has been a journey.

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