Retired Pilot Diagnosed with Incurable Cancer Leads First-Ever Cobourg Multiple Myeloma March

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Saturday, October 5, at 12 :00 p.m., Brian Stockdale will be participating in the first ever edition of the Cobourg Multiple Myeloma March, at St. Peter’s Church, to help raise awareness about multiple myeloma, a little-known blood cancer of the plasma cells.

Brian Stockdale has always been active, enjoying a successful and enriching 40-year career as a pilot before retiring to tinker with antique cars, garden and spend time with his family. In April 2015, he returned from visiting his daughter out of the country and started to feel run down and out of breath. Vitamin B-12 supplements didn’t help, and when Brian went to the emergency room, he learned his red blood cell count was seriously low, a sure sign that something was wrong. He underwent tests, and three days later, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a little-known and incurable blood cancer of the plasma cells.

Brian received a stem cell transplant in October 2015. Since then, he has been in partial remission and continues to receive therapy. He joined the Northumberland and District Multiple Myeloma Support Group to help him cope with the disease and is now one of the group’s co-chairs.

The incredible support he received from the group motivated him to do more 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. This year he will lead the city’s inaugural Multiple Myeloma March on Saturday, October 5, at 12 P.M., starting at St. Peter’s Church.

“Someone has to do this work, because we need to make our community aware of what myeloma is and what the symptoms are,” Brian says. “So many people haven’t heard of it, or they confuse it with other types of cancer. Our goal for this walk is to increase awareness and raise funds for research.”

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. Annette Hay, Principal Investigator at Kingston General Hospital. “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.”

Cobourg is one of a record 28 communities across Canada participating in this year’s Multiple Myeloma March. Cobourg’s financial 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.

About Myeloma
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.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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