Multiple Myeloma Patients and Supporters Trekking Grand Canyon to Raise Funds and Awareness for Accelerated Cancer Research

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CURE Media Group, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and Takeda Oncology again Join Forces to Support 12-Person Team of Climbers

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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.

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A 12-person team of multiple myeloma patients, doctors, family members and supporters will hike the Bright Angel Trail in the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon from May 12-16 to raise awareness and funds for critical multiple myeloma research. The Grand Canyon trek is the second fundraising and awareness-building event of Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma, a collaboration between the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), CURE Media Group and Takeda. The two events have raised more than $275,000 to date for myeloma research.

Multiple myeloma is an incurable cancer of the blood that carries only a 46.6 percent chance of survival beyond five years, according to the National Cancer Institute. While great progress has been made in recent years to develop novel treatments, continued research funding is needed to get to the ultimate goal: a cure. Every dollar raised by the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma team will go to the MMRF research efforts to accelerate next-generation treatments. The MMRF brings treatments to multiple myeloma patients, 60 percent faster than the average, through collaboration with best-in-class partners around the world.

"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.”

While more than 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year, fewer than 1 percent step foot on a trail, and a small fraction of those take on the Bright Angel Trail, one of the most challenging and iconic hikes in the United States. With more than 4,300 feet of vertical hiking down, and then up, completed in one day, this trek also adds the obstacle of temperature change. Hikers may start at a comfortable 75 degrees up top, and then encounter heat reaching 110 degrees and above in the depths of the canyon.

The three patients with multiple myeloma on the Grand Canyon Moving Mountains team include:

  • Frédéric Gobry of Mountain View, California, who is excited to be stepping outside the patient role to take an active part in fighting the disease. Diagnosed two years ago after extensive bone damage along his spine was crippling his life, the self-described “non-athletic type” is taking pleasure in being active again. His wife, Véronique, and 11-year-old daughter, Erin, are joining Frédéric on the trek.
  • Donna Cowan of Folsom, California, who is climbing to do whatever she can to make a difference for patients like herself and others living with multiple myeloma. Diagnosed in September 2013, shortly after celebrating her 70th birthday, Donna is doing what she always told her children to do: “Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again.” Her husband, best friend and caregiver, Bud, is joining Donna on the hike.
  • Jennifer DeChello of Wallingford, Connecticut, who learned she had multiple myeloma last January after many years of undiagnosed head and neck pain, double vision, vision loss and painful tongue spasms that made swallowing almost impossible. As Jennifer put it, “To go from where I was a year ago to this hike is a miracle.” She will attempt this hike for herself, the MMRF, and all the patients who have come before her. Jennifer’s son, George, is joining her on the trek.

“The participating patients with multiple myeloma inspire hope and provide a real demonstration that multiple myeloma is not insurmountable,” said Mike Hennessy Jr., president of CURE Media Group. “The Grand Canyon Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma is bringing together these patients, doctors, family members and supporters for a cause that will positively affect the path that many with myeloma face every day, as well as the path of people yet to be diagnosed.”

Karuppiah Kannan, associate director at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, who is joining the Moving Mountains team for the Grand Canyon trek, added, “Not many scientists get the opportunity to get out of the lab to meet patients they are working so hard to help. I’m honored to be a part of this team of patients, myeloma medical professionals and caregivers. While we continue to make tremendous progress in our fight against cancer, we always need to do more, and we know it will take a collective effort to achieve our aspiration to cure cancer.”

To learn more about Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma, meet the hikers and donate to the cause, visit http://www.movingmountainsformultiplemyeloma.com. The story of the hike and hikers will be captured in a documentary video, and live updates from the hike will be available on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

About Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma
Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma is an MMRF program supported by CURE Media Group and Takeda. The MMRF has teams participating in other adventure climbs, including Machu Picchu, August 9-14, and Mount Kilimanjaro in February 2017. Funds raised by the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma endeavors will go directly to research, supporting the MMRF mission. For more information, visit movingmountainsformultiplemyeloma.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 also 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.

About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c) (3) non-profit 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 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 takeda.com/news. Additional information about Takeda is available at takeda.com, and additional information about Takeda Oncology, the brand for the global oncology business unit of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, is available at takedaoncology.com.

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Michael J. LaCosta
CURE Media Group
+1 (551) 655-3718
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Sharon L. Saias
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
203-652-0211
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