Each year the month of March is recognized as Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month. In honor of such recognition to our warriors and their battles, we put forth a MoveSpring fitness challenge. The goal was to get 20 active minutes for at least 15 days of the month, with an overall goal of 550,000 active minutes as a group. In the end, we more than exceeded our goal, we achieved 120% of what we set out to achieve for an end total of 660,405 active minutes completed. With our goal, we had set standards for participants to be qualified for prizes, just for extra encouragement, but the relationships built and community brought together was the biggest prize of all.
We defined active minutes as doing activities such as walking, biking, gardening, strength training, swimming, hiking, kayaking, walking stairs at home, and pretty much any activity that got you moving, and outdoors if possible. It was a magical month indeed to see the stories shared together as a group, encouragement sent, pictures, and journeys shared.
Our overall stats are listed below:
- 799 Users
- 562 Active
- 394 Amazon Gift Card-qualified
- 225 Apple watch qualified
Winners of the prizes have been announced and contacted, but a little extra recognition for their hard work. *Names shared are their usernames not their full name for privacy reasons.
Apple Watch Winners:
20 Winners of $100 Amazon gift cards:
We asked many of our participants to share their stories or how this helped them and the outpouring of love and gratitude for the challenge was incredibly inspiring.
“Thank you for organizing the Muscles for Myeloma, it got me back on my feet and I am up to walking now for 60 plus minutes.” - Deirdre
“This may have been February, but it shows that neither deep snow nor freezing temps kept me from getting 10,000 steps most days.” - Janet
“For the first time, I took part in M4M. I was drawn to see all the comments from so many people from different parts of the world. The pictures where you could see what the individual was experiencing were particularly beautiful. Wonderful landscapes and insights into the homeland of fellow patients. The posts have always given me courage.
Some patients were even in therapy and still made an effort to keep up. I found that particularly strong.
I think gymnastics or any kind of exercise is very helpful when you have such a serious illness. Even after the high dose HDT I definitely have 10 kilos more that don't want to give way, it is clear to me that the muscles send out a lot of small auxiliary substances that help the body to give its best. There is also zest for life and courage because you always get a little better.
Moreover, this app makes it easy to participate. You think about it, look forward to the comments and actions of the others, so the movement is much easier. And when you post it then you are really happy. By the way, the support team of movespring is great. They answer immediately and always have a solution you can even understand as a non-electronic advice experienced person.
At gyms, it’s good to talk to other cancer patients. There are some things that cannot be said in front of the family. There is also a feeling of not being alone, of sticking together against the disease. All in all, I am very much in favor of exercise as you can. Pilates, yoga, going for a walk, and also some mediation - that's my recipe for a successful day. As my MM friend says, we just roll forward. Thank you very much for this great challenge. I can only advise everyone to seize this opportunity and simply join in. Go on, don't give up, love yourself no matter what!”- Andrea
“First I will say that of the unlucky I am one of the fortunate ones. Diagnosed with both MM/AL -double whammy- of rare diseases, I responded very well to my SCT. That was 6 years ago. Now on continuing maintenance which is well tolerated.
I joined this challenge as I am training for a major physical event in September. Not yet ready to reveal in any detail, but hopefully it will inspire others as to possibilities for them. Therefore incorporating this challenge seemed appropriate. My steps/miles/minutes, overall workouts are all a result of continually striving to stay/improve my fitness to be able to live a full and active life.
In a few months I reach age 70, still have dogs to walk, places to go, and bicycles to ride.”- Adrianne
“First off thank you for creating the opportunity for so many myeloma patients to do this challenge. I was an avid competitive ice hockey player ( National metals and all ) until one day I ended up in the hospital not long after a tournament. I had broken ribs and 5 compression fractures, no wonder my back hurt. I had also noticed that I had trouble catching my breath during a shift, not good. The good thing was however that I had so many blood tests that they caught the myeloma before my kidneys failed completely. I even had dialysis. I couldn’t walk for months. This is my second year doing the “Muscles 4 Myeloma“ challenge, it is inspiring to see how many other people are out there doing the same thing, MOVING! I am convinced that had I not forced myself to move, whether it was a resistance band when I couldn’t move much to riding my bike, walking, or running 10 -15 miles that I would not be where I am today. We can live with this disease, there will be good days and not as good days ( treatment days, pain days ) but no matter what, we need to keep our eye on the prize. Mine may not be a gold medal these days but I don’t care, I’m alive, and I’m moving. Keep the faith! We are all Champions !”- Iris
“Thank you so much for the t-shirt. I’ll wear it proudly. I was diagnosed with MM in 2012. I was at work on break eating something and ask a friend of mine if my mouth looked funny. It felt funny to me. She said I thought you had candy in your mouth. I knew I was having a stroke but still scared me. I asked my boss to take my BP, It was high. I finally told my husband who also worked at the same place. I came home and my sister came up to check on me. She’s a CNA. My husband got home and took me to the ER. I, fortunately, had a minor case of Bell’s palsy, but in my blood work my family dr. Picked up on my cancer level. Sent me to an oncologist. I was a mess. My dad died of lung cancer and didn’t want to go to that cancer center. But I did. I dealt with them for 3 years till my numbers got high and said I needed chemo and radiation. When I first went there my MM was smoldering. During the 3 years, I just had bone scans and bone marrow biopsies. They are not fun. I’m a tough person but those things hurt. First one dr. Had to put the needle in twice, but didn't get enough. Second one different dr. Had to put it in 3 times. That really hurt. We got a second opinion. My dr. In Philadelphia said radiation would’ve crumbled my bones. I needed a stem cell transplant. Now I’m really scared, but he and his staff really made it easier and bearable. Had my stem cell transplant on March 24, 2016. I’m 5 years in and still going strong. My kids, and grandkids, brother, sisters, nieces & nephews had beef and beer for us to raise money. It was so overwhelming but so grateful. I told them didn’t want them to that but they told me didn’t matter what I wanted. I have a very caring, generous family and we’re always there for each other. To be honest I was so sick after the transplant I wasn’t sure I was gonna make it. For 3 months couldn’t keep food down and diarrhea. It didn’t take long for my hair to start coming back in. So I’m turning a corner and then my mom got diagnosed with peritoneal cancer. So I had to push on to help her. She battled for 2 years and we just lost her in March 2020. Part of my heart is with her. We were battling cancer together. I’m forever grateful to my husband who has to put up with me every day, my family, church Mstar Bechtelsville, my dr. And staff, infusion nurses, my friends for sticking behind me and helping me fight this. #CANCER SUCKS.”- Gayle
“I have always liked to walk and hike as far back as I could remember. Growing up in the hills of Pennsylvania and later traveling about the world, I never ceased to enjoy an invigorating and spirit-filling walk. I enjoyed the ‘feel good’ experiences and the chances for new adventures and sights.
However, the ‘whips and scorns of time’ have come as next year, I turn eighty. The ‘get up and go’ has diminished and last year, I started treatment for Multiple Myeloma. However, I refuse to give up but need a little encouragement to get out. The weather may not be perfect. The back and leg pains prevail. Then, there is the fear of a nasty virus all around us.
Thank you for your challenge. It gave me that extra incentive to get out and say that I can do it. After all, many hundreds of others can do it, why can’t I? My Doctor and many books tell me that walking is the best exercise and is better than many medicines. It also doesn’t have nasty side effects except for a few aches and getting tired which go away with rest. I have a mask and practice social distancing. So, I say again ‘why not’ and join the challenge!
I made the challenge and glad that I did. Although the formal challenge is now over, I know that I can still do it and will continue to challenge myself.
Thank you again for your support.”- Tony G
“This was my second challenge. I increased my physical activity when I participated in the first challenge and have continued it since. I was looking forward to beating my time this challenge but we had more snow in Colorado Springs this March than we had all winter which kept us from our almost daily walks. In addition, we had our bathrooms remodeled and the workman we’re always coming in. Even though I was able to do the elliptical 35-45 minutes 3-4 times a week and lift some light weights a couple of days a week. My wife and I walked the dog whenever we could and I still made all the group goals. I also enjoyed the pictures and stories everyone shared. I can’t wait until the next competition. Thank you for doing this for us.”- Rich L
“First of all, thank you for providing this challenge and the forum to hear from fellow MM warriors. Everyone’s motivation and positive resolve pushes/motivates me to keep myself healthy through diet and exercise. Others have clearly experienced more struggles than I and to see their positive attitude has made me determined to fight on and learn as much as I can to understand this disease.
I have felt so alone in my journey and without a support system but through the challenge, at least for a month, I feel I have a supportive team.
Would love to have the ability to keep challenges and chats ongoing.
Thanks again for all you have done to create this community!”- Lori S
These stories bring us together, strengthen us, and as warriors know you aren’t alone. Thank you to all who participated, supported, and encouraged. Each time we leave a challenge we come away stronger together. Looking forward to more challenges together.
Thanks to our Muscles for Myeloma sponsors!
about the author
Linnley joined the HealthTree Foundation in January 2020 as the Fitness Events Manager. Her husband is a childhood cancer survivor as well as a cancer biologist. Finding a cure, better treatments, and balance through treatments is what drives their family. Linnley is an Advanced Cancer Exercise Specialist and focuses on finding what you can do rather than can't.