Next week marks the start of Myeloma Awareness Week 2016 through that I am setting myself a personal challenge of walking 10,000 steps a day for a month, starting on the 21st of June. And through doing that I hope to now only raise a bit of money but help the Myeloma UK charity to reach out and connect with people to raise awareness of what myeloma is, what it’s like to live with it every week of the year and keep on striding towards new treatments.
I'll be recording and tracking my progress across my social channels so keep an eye out
Why am I doing this?
Not everyone knows but my Dad was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma 3 and a half years ago. In that time there has been highs and lows, not only has it affected my Dad physically but on an emotional level it’s affected me and those around him. I’ve suffered with challenging emotional times, my motivation to get up and do things has at time hit rock bottom. Through it all though, my Dad has never given up, and it’s about time I got off my bum and put the same enthusiasm into things as he does.
10,000 steps a day for a month may not seem like much however having tracked my progress over the past week or so I on average walk less than 3,000 (which is shocking) therefore this will actually be a challenge for me, but I’m ready to go out of my way and inconvenience myself to do this.
What is Myeloma?
Myeloma, also known as multiple myeloma, is a cancer arising from plasma cells, a type of white blood cell which is made in the bone marrow. Bone marrow is the ‘spongy’ material found in the centre of the larger bones in the body. The bone marrow is where all blood cells are made.
Plasma cells form part of your immune system. Normal plasma cells produce antibodies, also called immunoglobulins, to help fight infection.
In myeloma, these plasma cells become abnormal, multiply uncontrollably and release only one type of antibody – known as paraprotein – which has no useful function. Unlike many cancers, myeloma does not exist as a lump or tumour. Most of the medical problems related to myeloma are caused by the build-up of the abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow and the presence of the paraprotein in the blood or in the urine.
Myeloma affects multiple places in the body (hence ‘multiple’ myeloma) where bone marrow is normally active in an adult i.e. within the bones of the spine, skull, pelvis, the rib cage, long bones of the arms and legs and the areas around the shoulders and hips.
Myeloma is a relapsing-remitting cancer. This means there are periods when the myeloma is causing symptoms and/or complications and needs to be treated, followed by periods of remission or plateau where the myeloma does not cause symptoms and does not require treatment. To date there is no cure for Myeloma. However its charities like Myeloma UK who are working to get to that point and pioneer new and less invasive treatments.
I recognise this is a long post, however, the task in hand is something that I am ready to commit to and would appreciate your support, encouragement and maybe a few pounds to help along the way too!