In 2016, Danny Wade, a successful marketing professional and an active and doting father to his three young children, aged 11, 8 and 6, checked himself into the emergency department when he began experiencing severe, inexplicable bone pain and unusual fatigue.
Two days later, after undergoing a battery of tests, Danny was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a little-known and incurable cancer of the plasma cells. He was just 42 years old.
“I was shocked when I got the news, Danny recalls. What upset me most was when the doctor told me that the average life expectancy for myeloma patients was only five to seven years. The thought that I would not see my children grow up was devastating. I knew I had to fight for my life.
Thats exactly what Danny has been doing. Within six months of being diagnosed, Danny went through a difficult high-dose chemotherapy regimen to prepare for an autologous stem cell transplant using his own stem cells. Then in 2017 after further tests, Dannys doctors recommended that his best option for survival was to undergo another transplant with stem cells from a healthy donor. He took his doctors advice and underwent the procedure. Fortunately, he was eligible to participate in a clinical trial at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital where he received a breakthrough therapy involving bi-weekly injections that he will continue to take for a year.
Dannys condition is relatively stable at this time, and he extremely thankful to still be alive. He is thrilled to watch his children grow and to resume being an active part of their lives. He credits his survival to the life-saving treatments that he has access to and the love and support he receives from his partner, Anik. With my beloved Anik by my side, Ive had the courage to get through this nightmare and to have faith that I can get through whatever else the future holds.
Danny is eager to do what he can to help others living with myeloma. I made a promise that once I was doing well, I would do everything in my power to help find a cure so that other patients dont have to live through the horrors I have,” says Danny. Danny is a member of the organizing committee of the Montreal Support Group, and recently co-founded the South Shore Myeloma Support Group.
Over the past four years, Danny has seen, first-hand, the life-changing impact that advances in myeloma research are having on the lives of those living with this incurable cancer. Thats why he and his family are more intent than ever to raise as much awareness and funds for myeloma as they can, and will be participating in Myeloma Canadas 12th annual Montreal Multiple Myeloma March on Sunday, September 20, at 10 am.
This years Montreal March has been modified to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In compliance with physical distancing measures, participants are encouraged to hold their own walk in their neighbourhood at the same time as the regularly scheduled March on September 20. Danny and his fellow Montreal Marchers have set their fundraising goal at $60,000 to help further crucial research for this deadly blood cancer that affects nine new Canadians every day.
Myeloma research has produced extremely promising results over the past two decades. In fact, for the first time, theres a cure in sight, says Dr Richard LeBlanc, Medical Hematologist and Oncologist, and holder of the Myeloma Canada Chair in Multiple Myeloma Research at the Universit de Montral. We cant afford to let the current situation stop the progress weve made and put vulnerable people living with myeloma at risk, which is why its more crucial than ever to invest in research and find a cure.
The Multiple Myeloma March, Myeloma Canadas flagship fundraiser is now in its 12th year. The annual five-kilometer event brings Canadian communities together to raise essential funds for research and to help improve the lives of all Canadians impacted by myeloma. Montreal is one of a record 33 communities across the country to be included in this years Multiple Myeloma March. The national fundraising goal is set at $650,000. To learn more about how this event will be working, please click here.
While this years March will undoubtedly be different because of the pandemic, its crucial to stay positive, says Martine Elias, Executive Director of Myeloma Canada. Fundraising has taken a huge hit for many organizations. We need to do all we can to increase awareness and raise essential funds for research that will improve the lives of Canadians impacted by myeloma, and bring us closer to a cure, Martine added. As we mark Myeloma Canadas 15th anniversary, we celebrate the strength of our incredible community. More than ever, were counting on our supporters to help us achieve our goal of $650,000. Canadians impacted by this incurable cancer are depending on us.
This year, a minimum of 50% of funds raised by the Multiple Myeloma March will go directly to support Myeloma Canadas Myeloma Research Priority Setting Partnership (PSP), the first program of its kind in myeloma. The PSP will use input provided by the Canadian myeloma community to identify and define investments in myeloma research over the next 18 months. The balance raised will go toward supporting various myeloma research projects and initiatives that are pivotal for improving quality of life and moving the needle toward a cure.
Multiple myeloma, also known as myeloma, is the second most common form of blood cancer. Myeloma affects a type of immune cell called the plasma cell, found in the bone marrow. Every day, nine Canadians are diagnosed, yet in spite of its growing prevalence, the disease remains relatively unknown. While there is no cure, people with myeloma are living longer and better lives, thanks to recent breakthroughs in treatment. To find the cure, more funding and research are required. To learn more, or to donate, please visit www.myeloma.ca