Eva Patten has always been busy, whether raising her two children or balancing her work as a hairdresser and as a bus driver. In 2008, she sensed something was wrong after she began suffering from kidney problems and internal bleeding. After undergoing a series of medical tests and eventually a bone marrow biopsy, Eva was diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a little-known blood cancer of the plasma cells. She was 41.
In May 2008, shortly after her diagnosis, Eva received a stem cell transplant. Sadly, her condition continued to worsen, and she was placed in palliative care. Eva was given six months to live.
It was during this time that Eva received potentially hopeful news – a new breakthrough treatment had just become available. Eva understood that trying this treatment would involve a very difficult approval process and that she could be denied access to it at any point. Feeling that she had nothing to lose, Eva took the risk.
Eva responded extremely well to the treatment, so much so that not only was she released from palliative care, but the hospital completely. That new treatment saved Eva’s life; she remained on it for nearly five years. If it had not been for these advances in research and drug therapies, Eva and others like her would not be here to tell their stories.
Over the last four years, Eva has been on and off different regimes. Thanks to these new treatments, Eva is continuing to lead her active life in relatively stable health. “It’s because of these innovations that I’m able to live my life to the fullest,” said Eva, who’s now 52 and a grandmother of three. In fact, Eva went skydiving with her two children and bungee jumping in July.
Eva is determined to do her part to help create awareness and raise funds for myeloma so that research continues to stay one step ahead of the disease and new drug therapies continue to be developed until a cure is found. As such, Eva will be leading the third annual Prince George Multiple Myeloma March on Saturday, September 14, at 9 a.m., starting at the Otway Nordic Ski Centre.
The Multiple Myeloma March is Myeloma Canada’s flagship fundraiser. Myeloma Canada, a charitable organization, is driven to improve the lives of those impacted by myeloma and to support research toward finding a cure. In its 11th year, the five-kilometre walk/run plays a crucial role in making this happen.
“Myeloma patients have seen their treatment options increase exponentially over the past decade. Thanks to major strides in research, not only has quality of life improved but we’re encouraged to say that life expectancies have more than doubled in the past 15 years and this is continuing on an upward trend,” said Dr. Heather Sutherland, Principal Investigator at the Vancouver General Hospital, in a news release. “We’re now seeing incredibly promising treatment options that are helping us to stay ahead of the disease, such as CAR T-Cell therapy, Bi-specific T-cell engagers (BiTEs), immunotherapies, and many more advances that are in development. For the first time, we can actually say that we’re getting closer to finding a cure. Investing in research is critical, which is why raising funds is more important than ever.”
Prince George is one of a record 28 communities across Canada participating in this year’s Multiple Myeloma March. Prince George’s fundraising objective is $10,000.
“The annual Multiple Myeloma March is not just a fun, but essential, community-building and fundraising event. Through the march, those whose lives have been touched by myeloma get to meet and connect with one another while raising funds for advancing critical clinical research. Each step taken is one that brings us closer to finding a cure,” said Martine Elias, Executive Director of Myeloma Canada.
About Myeloma Canada’s Multiple Myeloma March
The Multiple Myeloma March is the flagship fundraiser for Myeloma Canada. This year marks the 11th anniversary of its inception and will include a record 28 communities across Canada participating in the event. The national fundraising goal has been set at $550,000. For a complete list of communities hosting a Multiple Myeloma March, or to donate, please visit myelomamarch.ca.
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, eight 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. Learn more here: www.myeloma.ca.
About Myeloma Canada
Myeloma Canada is the only national charitable organization created by and for Canadians impacted by multiple myeloma. The organization is driven to improve the lives of those affected by myeloma by empowering the community through awareness, education and advocacy programs, and supporting clinical research to find the cure. Since its founding in 2005, Myeloma Canada has been making myeloma matter. Learn more here: www.myeloma.ca.