Multiple Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells and back in 1995, a group of terminally ill patients and their families joined together to form the Philadelphia Multiple Myeloma Networking Group (PMMNG), to support each other on the road to recovery.
“Not finding effective support to guide them in their journey with illness, Marilyn Alexander and her twin sister, Sharon along with Phil Falkowitz and his wife, Barbara, dreamed up and then formed a support group that would help them and others to figure out how to sustain themselves,” says group facilitator, Maddie Hunter. “It was born from a need to find education, support and encouragement for themselves, and has grown to serve hundreds of people in the Greater Philadelphia region.”
A big part of what PMMNG does is provide education for multiple myeloma patients, as well as connect them with the right medical professionals.
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“A volunteer steering committee grew its skills in being able to identify and build relationships with specialists in all aspects of living with myeloma,” Hunter says. “The topics for group meetings broadened and attracted more and more members. Members of the group became volunteer guides to newly diagnosed people. With the support of a volunteer social worker, Lori Curtis, the group became more skilled in providing meaningful emotional support to one another.”
In recent years, PMMNG has also taken on the task of raising money for multiple myeloma research, through their annual Miles for Myeloma 5K.
“As the group’s fund-raising skills grew, we christened our own 5K that has become an annual event in Philadelphia,” Hunter says. “Through the annual Mile for Myeloma 5K, the group has raised over $1 million for research.”
Now in its 10th year, the event will take place on Saturday, April 28, kicking off at the Please Touch Museum’s Memorial Hall. The goal is to raise $100,000 for research, and with 1000 people expected to participate, volunteers are needed more than ever.
“It takes a village to put on a 5K,” Hunter days. “Volunteers are critical to the event’s success and are needed to register participants, hand out food and water, direct walkers/runners on the course and cheer on participants.”
At the end of the day, it’s all about the community coming together.
“This event brings out the best in all of us,” Hunter says. “It reminds all of us what is possible when we show up for the things we care about. The positive spirit is contagious and we all feel more encouraged and ready for the next steps in our journeys because of it.”
If you go:
Miles for Myeloma 5K
Saturday, April 28
Registration opens at 7:15 a.m.
Start time: 8:30 a.m.
Memorial Hall at the Please Touch Museum
4231 Avenue of the Republic