May 4, 2016 is a day that changed my life.

That is the day I walked into Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, NC and was diagnosed with Smoldering Multiple Myeloma (SMM).  I had no symptoms. My SMM was discovered in a life insurance exam. I had run several half marathons and was training for a marathon. Rather than getting preferred rates like I expected, I was now uninsurable. I have four kids and a wife who all depend on me. From that day forward, life will forever take on new meaning. A new perspective.

Perspective is everything. Not taking for granted days like before SMM is a key part of life now. As a successful patient in a clinical trial, I can see firsthand how important research is in striving toward a cure. Dramatic advances are being made! However, there is still work to do. From a dear friend who lost his life last year to multiple myeloma, to the success of my own journey, it is important that we continue to gain ground on this dreaded disease.

I climbed Mount Everest in 2018 and ran the Boston Marathon in 2019 because I can! When I got my diagnosis, my wife and I made a plan for living. To be able to be a part of organizations like Throwing Bones is an honor and a life’s calling!

Kirk Wilkerson

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