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Taking Myeloma Research to New Heights in Peru
Posted: Jun 18, 2024
Taking Myeloma Research to New Heights in Peru image

The majority of people worldwide have heard of lymphoma and leukemia but remain unaware of multiple myeloma despite it being the second most common hematologic cancer. Myeloma specialists are doing their best to spread the knowledge of myeloma far and wide, and a group of women physicians are going to Peru to prove it. 

Why Bring Awareness to Multiple Myeloma?

Tanya Wildes, MD, is one of the doctors taking on this challenge. "Multiple myeloma is a condition that can present quite subtly at first," she shares, "but may not be diagnosed until a patient has suffered significant problems, including debilitating pain or irreversible kidney problems."

She continues, "As a myeloma specialist... I review [patient] medical records and see that the signs, sometimes subtle, sometimes glaring, were missed. It's heartbreaking to see that, if someone...had thought of myeloma as a possibility earlier, the patient could have been saved a lot of pain, functional decline, and problems."

Why Fundraise for Myeloma Research?

Dr. Wildes was inspired by Dr. Cailtin Costello, a fellow myeloma physician who hiked Mount Kilimanjaro in 2022 as a fundraiser for myeloma research. Dr. Wildes reached out to several of her myeloma colleagues with whom she had rubbed shoulders across the world at various conferences. Their shared common experiences as doctors, academics, and women in today's world connected them on a deeper level.

This exciting campaign, known as the woMMen Trekking Peru campaign, begins in July. Each of the eight physicians is raising funds for myeloma research foundations.

Their financial goal is to raise 10,000 dollars for each of the four organizations: HealthTree for Multiple Myeloma, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), and Myeloma Canada, totaling $40,000.  

Donate Today!

Who Is Involved and What Will They Do?

This group of eight women, listed below, will go to Peru in July to trek almost 30 miles through the Ausangate mountain in the Andes (with an altitude of up to 16,900 feet). Their tremendous efforts and adventure will raise myeloma awareness and support HealthTree’s blood cancer research. You can follow their journey on social media: 

  • Dr. Urvi A. Shah: Memorial Sloan Kettering, @UrviShahMD
  • Dr. Tanya Wildes: University of Nebraska Medical Center, @TanyaWildes
  • Dr. Annette Hay: Queen’s University in Ontario, @AnnetteHay1
  • Dr. Attaya Suvannasankha: Indiana University Health, @Suvannasankha
  • Dr. Monique Hartley-Brown: Dana Farber Cancer Institute, @DrMHB1
  • Dr. Gurbakhash Kaur: UT Southwestern Medical Center, @GKaurMD
  • Dr. Meera Mohan: Froedtert and Medical College of Wisconsin, @MeeraMohanMD
  • Dr. Sarah Ryan, Hematology Fellow at Queen's University, @SarahGRyan

When asked what parts of the challenging journey they are looking forward to, Dr. Wildes shares:

"We’ll trek 6-8 hours [each] day. Even though we live scattered across six states and two countries, we undoubtedly have a lot of common-lived experiences. We have all been through very similar rigors of medical school and residency/fellowship, share the joys and challenges of caring for people with myeloma, [and] share experiences of gender bias as women in medicine. We all balance caring for our patients and trying to make a research impact in myeloma with our home lives. Two of our members are themselves cancer survivors. And I expect we will spend HOURS talking about myeloma and can almost guarantee we’ll come out of this with several research project ideas brewing!" 



"As a lymphoma patient myself who underwent four months of intense chemotherapy for Hodgkin lymphoma... I can relate to the challenges and trauma of facing a new cancer diagnosis," shares Dr. Urvi Shah, another physician taking part in this adventure, "Facing a new cancer diagnosis is like facing a mountain in some ways. Both are putting our bodies through hard challenges." 

How You Can Support 

The fundraising page for the WoMMen fundraising campaign is shared below. By donating, you can increase myeloma awareness and fund myeloma research. Click the button to add your donation.

Please share this article with your friends and family so they, too, can learn of these women's amazing purpose and help them in their quest to raise myeloma research funds. 

Every patient and contribution matters as we strive towards the lofty goal of curing multiple myeloma. 

Donate Today!

Stay tuned for more information on the trek as we get closer to its starting date! 

HealthTree Foundation, Innovation that Saves Lives

HealthTree is a global nonprofit organization uniting patients and researchers through cutting-edge technology to work together on curing diseases. HealthTree provides lifetime personalized support and education, meaningful patient-to-patient connections, and a powerful patient data portal transforming patients and caregivers into active contributors in driving lifesaving breakthroughs.

The author Audrey Burton-Bethke

about the author
Audrey Burton-Bethke

Audrey is a content writer and editor for the HealthTree Foundation. She originally joined the HealthTree Foundation in 2020. Audrey loves spending time with her supportive husband, energetic four-year-old, and new baby. 

Thanks to our HealthTree Community for Multiple Myeloma Sponsors:

Johnson and Johnson
Bristol Myers Squibb

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