March to fight multiple myeloma scheduled this weekend

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Among the people taking part in this weekend’s Myeloma March in LaSalle, is Jennifer Radjenovich. She is doing it for her father.

Guido Vetorello was given just three years to live after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, but four years later he continues to do what he loves; play with his grandchildren, watch baseball, and travel with his wife.

Trouble started in 2015 when he was treated for anemia when he could not shake unusual fatigue. Unfortunately, the treatments did not work, and his family feared something else was wrong with him.

They were right.

Blood tests and a bone marrow biopsy came back positive for the life-threatening blood cancer affecting plasma cells.

Multiple myeloma or just myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer. A release from the organizers of this year’s march said eight Canadians are diagnosed with it every day, and as of yet, doctors do not know what causes it, and there is no cure.

Like Guido, those with the disease can experience fatigue, but also excessive thirst, bone pain, numbness in the legs, nausea, and weight loss.

Unfortunately, Guido did not qualify for a stem cell transplant. Doctors decided it was too risky, but a new drug treatment looked promising, and they were right.

These days, Guido is relatively stable and has exceeded his doctor’s expectations. Although he undergoes chemotherapy treatments weekly, he is still around to watch his grandchildren grow.

“My dad looks forward to going to his treatments every week because he knows they are giving him more time,” said Jennifer Vettorello. “In the four years since he was diagnosed, the research has been incredible with so many new treatment options available to patients. It gives me real hope that will be with us for some time.”

The Vettorello family will be at the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex in LaSalle Sunday morning when the ninth annual march gets underway at 9 a.m.

Fundraising, which supports research, has helped almost double the lives of patients in the past 15 years.

Dr Sindu Kanjeekal, the Multiple Myeloma Clinical and Research Lead at the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre, said life expectancies are continuing on an upward trend.

“We’re now seeing incredibly promising treatment options that are helping us to stay ahead of the disease,” he said. “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.”

Windsor-Essex is one of 28 communities across the country taking part in this year’s march.

The goal this year is $40,000, but across the country, marches are trying to raise $550,000.