Patients with Multiple Myeloma and Their Supporters Are Hiking Peru’s Inca Trail to Machu Picchu to Bolster Awareness and Drive Fundraising for Cancer Research

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Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, Takeda and CURE Media Group Join Forces to Support 20-Person Team

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“This program brings together pharmaceutical companies,advocacy groups, cancer patients, caregivers, physicians and nurses to raise money, awareness and create hope and inspiration for all cancer patients.” - Marty Murphy, dir. of patient ed., CURE.

From Aug. 9 - 14, a team of 20 multiple myeloma patients, caregivers, physicians, nurses and supporters will hike along Peru’s arduous Inca Trail leading to the ruins of Machu Picchu to raise funds for research and build awareness around the incurable blood cancer. The Inca Trail trek is the third event for Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM), a collaboration between the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), CURE Media Group and Takeda that has raised nearly $500,000 to date for critically needed myeloma research.

Ascending to a height of more than 9,000 feet, the route the team will use is a rare and challenging opportunity to traverse the Sacred Valley and enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate (Intipunku). The 16-kilometer trek will begin at the Chachabamba entrance on the Urubamba River and take hikers through the Andes Mountains over the course of seven to nine hours. Previous MM4MM events this year have included similarly intensive treks up Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro in January and into Arizona’s Grand Canyon in May.

Jeff Stiles, one of four patients with multiple myeloma on the trek, is a 46-year-old police officer from Kodak, Tenn. He was diagnosed with the rare cancer in 2014 and plans to take on the Inca Trail to inspire others and embrace an outdoor adventure. “Hiking and being outside have had an almost spiritual impact on me and always improve my mental state,” he said. “This reason, as well as being on the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma team as an example of strength for others, has brought me to this point in my journey.”

Other patients living with multiple myeloma on the MM4MM team are Cindi McNair, 52, of Lincoln, Nebr.; Evelyn Bhattacharya, 76, of New York, N.Y.; and Klaas de Weerth, 52, also of New York.

"The MMRF continues to lead collaborative, cutting-edge scientific efforts to conduct multiple myeloma research, with a particular emphasis in the promising area of precision medicine,” said Paul Giusti, MMRF president and CEO. “Working with our partners at Takeda and CURE, we’re able to create awareness and help generate the necessary funds to support this important research. What is particularly gratifying is to see multiple myeloma patients working side-by-side with us, battling their disease and taking positive steps to bring us ever closer to a cure.”

“CURE ® magazine is honored to be a founding partner of Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma,” said Marty Murphy, director of patient education, CURE/OncLive, for CURE Media Group. “This program brings together pharmaceutical companies, advocacy groups, cancer patients, caregivers, physicians and nurses with the mission to raise money, awareness and create hope and inspiration for all cancer patients.”

Shawn Goodman, head of Global Oncology Corporate Communications at Takeda, said, “During my 19 years with the company, I have had the privilege of hearing the personal stories of many courageous people who are battling this disease and have been part of an incredibly passionate team launching novel, transformative multiple myeloma treatments for patients around the world. I joined the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma Machu Picchu team to contribute, in a new way, to improving the lives of people with multiple myeloma — raising funds and showing my support alongside patients during the trek.”

Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the blood. According to the National Cancer Institute, patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma have less than a 50 percent chance of survival beyond five years. While great progress has been made in recent years to develop novel treatments, continuous research funding is critically needed to get to the ultimate goal: a cure. Every dollar raised by the MM4MM team will go to MMRF research efforts to accelerate next-generation treatments.

About Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma
Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma is supported by CURE Media Group and Takeda. MM4MM has teams participating in other adventure climbs, including Mount Kilimanjaro in February 2017. Funds raised by the MM4MM endeavors will go directly to research, supporting the MMRF mission. For more information, visit http://www.movingmountainsformultiplemyeloma.com.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti soon after Kathy’s diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As the world’s number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised more than $300 million since its inception and directs nearly 90 percent of its total budget to research and related programming. As a result, the MMRF has been awarded Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating for 11 consecutive years, the highest designation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and exceptional efficiency.

About Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited is a global, R&D-driven pharmaceutical company committed to bringing better health and a brighter future to patients by translating science into life-changing medicines. Takeda focuses its research efforts on oncology, gastroenterology and central nervous system therapeutic areas. It also has specific development programs in specialty cardiovascular diseases, as well as late-stage candidates for vaccines. Takeda conducts R&D, both internally and with partners, to stay at the leading edge of innovation. New innovative products, especially in oncology and gastroenterology, as well as its presence in emerging markets, fuel the growth of Takeda. More than 30,000 Takeda employees are committed to improving quality of life for patients, working with our partners in health care in more than 70 countries. For more information, visit http://www.takeda.com/news. Additional information about Takeda is available at http://www.takeda.com, and additional information about Takeda Oncology, the brand for the global oncology business unit of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, is available at http://www.takedaoncology.com.

About CURE Media Group
Combining science and humanity to make cancer understandable, CURE Media Group’s flagship product, CURE® magazine, is the indispensable guide to every stage of the cancer experience. With nearly 1 million readers, CURE is the largest U.S. consumer publication focused entirely on cancer, with broad distribution to patients with cancer, cancer centers and advocacy groups. CURE Media Group’s offerings include its online resource, curetoday.com; live meetings; a resource guide for the newly diagnosed; and the Extraordinary Healer™ oncology nursing award. It also offers CURE Connections®, a video platform designed specifically for patients with cancer that features information, stories, advice about the cancer journey and subscription options to receive updates. Cure Media Group is part of Michael J. Hennessy Associates, Inc., a full-service health care communications company offering education, research, medical media and the acclaimed OncLive platform of resources for the practicing oncologist.

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Media Contacts:
Becky Taylor
MJH Associates
becky(at)btaylorpa(dot)com
609.240.6886

Sharon L. Saias
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
saiass(at)theMMRF(dot)org
203-652-0211

Amy Atwood
Takeda
amy.atwood(at)takeda(dot)com
617-444-2147

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Becky Taylor