“Anyone Who Survives a Year with Multiple Myeloma is the Survivor of the Year”

Have you ever noticed how frequently things get compared to the same small group of ideas? When trying to point out that something isn’t as complex as it appears, you might be tempted to say, “It’s not like it’s rocket science.” Or maybe, if you’re trying to explain how difficult something will be, you might compare it to climbing a mountain. I’ve always wondered how rocket scientists and mountaineers felt about these quips.

Terry White, a man living with multiple myeloma and the 2017 winner of the “Survivor of the Year Award” from Cancer Connection, can now attest to the difficulty of climbing a mountain.

Terry was a member of the 16-person team that climbed Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro in February 2017. This team was one of many in a program specifically for people living with or connected to those living with multiple myeloma called Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma. This is the program’s second trip to the highest point in Africa and tallest freestanding mountain in the world. The previous journey was in January 2016.

According to Juneau Empire, Terry, a resident of southeastern Alaska, was originally diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2009.

Fortunately, the very next year, his cancer went into remission, though he is still very active in the community, especially in support groups and fundraising.

Multiple myeloma is a form of blood and bone marrow cancer. There is no cure, though there are numerous treatment options. Each year, new therapies and treatments are being developed.

Terry’s team that summited Mt. Kilimanjaro raised $250,000 for research and development of new treatments.

Many of the members of the team that climbed this mountain compared the experience to their personal battles with the deadly disease. At least in this case, the comparison is justified.

According to his teammates, Terry was one of the loudest cheerleaders throughout the climb. Though when accepting the award from Cancer Connection, he pointed out that anyone who survives for a year should consider him/herself the “Survivor of the Year.”

Click here to read an article in Terry’s own local newspaper.

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