In January 2015, I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma and began a journey of patient advocacy and hope that led to Throwing Bones.
I was afraid when I found out that I might die early. I have had a grand adventure and I don’t want it to stop. That’s not why I was afraid of my cancer diagnosis, however. I didn’t want to leave a mess for my wife, children, my parents, and the rest of my family and friends. I was going to let them down. I was angry that there wasn’t a damn thing that I could do about it.
I had to stop running, my way of coping with any of life’s difficulties. I lost a little control of my body. I struggled with sleeping well. I couldn’t help our family income and I couldn’t be the kind of dad that I wanted to be. Life changed.
But life went on.
Doctors here in Asheville and at Emory University Hospital gave me options. They pushed me around, beat me up and made me stronger. After a bone marrow transplant and a lot of tough times, I’m still here, I’m back to running, back at work, and I feel strong.
I wanted to show others struggling with this disease that you can’t fold up and go home. Don’t wait to die. Now is the time to bet it all. Throw those bones and let em ride. Don’t be afraid! You’re braver than you think, and your courage is going to generate more courage… and hope.. and a cure.
A cure for cancer, for so many years, was ignored by politicians who declared with disinterest,
accepting this as our fate. What didn’t affect them personally didn’t get their support. All that has changed, and we’re no longer alone. With the Moonshot Cancer Initiative and the recent advances in immunotherapy, cancer can be beat.
Until then, those of us living with cancer need to remember to live. I’m doing the best I can.
From April 1 – May 24, 2018, I ran from Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the Outer Banks of North Carolina on the Mountain To Sea Trail for 1,175 miles all the way to Clingman’s Dome at the western end of the state. I averaged about 22 miles a day for 54 days. Several days I ran 30-35 miles.
There is hope.
There will be a cure.
Until there is a cure, there is life.
As a runner with bone lesions throughout my body, two compression fractures, and still undergoing maintenance chemotherapy, I am aware of the high quality of life that comes from a healthy and active lifestyle. Through our Keep Moving Forward initiative, we encourage patients to be active and we will be a resource for patients on improving their quality of life through education and resources.”
The Throwing Bones Patient Assistance Fund was established to help patients and their caregivers with non-medical financial needs, such as utility bills, transportation to and lodging near treatment centers. Myeloma, in-particular, is a challenging disease as treatment options are not always conveniently located, or timed to fit busy schedules. Beginning in the summer of 2018, we will begin accepting applications for grants.
I’m proof and I will not fade away. I plan on being here as inspiration and as an advocate for all myeloma patients and those that care for them.