Winnipeg’s Carol Porco walked with a group of friends and family on Sunday for a cause that is close to her heart.
She was among about 30 individuals who partook in the Multiple Myeloma March, a five kilometre walk in the city, to raise funds for a cure for the little-known form of blood cancer that affects an estimated 3,400 Canadians a year.
Porco was diagnosed with myeloma in June of 2018. She had been experiencing soreness and a lack of movement but figured it was due to rheumatoid arthritis. When she heard the news, she could not believe it.
“All of a sudden one kid walks in, another kid walks in, my partner walked in and they’re all upset and I’m going: ‘Oh my God, this is like for real.'”
“You hear of lung cancer, you hear of breast cancer, but I didn’t have a clue what multiple myeloma meant.”
According to the national charity Myeloma Canada, which holds the fundraising walk, multiple myeloma, also known as myeloma, is the second most common form of blood cancer, which affects a type of immune cell called the plasma cell, found in the bone marrow.
An estimated nine Canadians are diagnosed daily, the charity stated and yet despite its growing prevalence, the disease remains relatively unknown.
Over44 percent of people diagnosed with multiple myeloma survive for at least five years, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. There are several treatments and while some can help for a short time, the cancer often comes back, and the disease is considered to be incurable.
Porco’s daughter Maria Marinelli noted the treatments have been very vital and have given her more time with her mom. But, it was originally hard to find people who knew what the specialized treatment options were, she stated.
“The amount of treatments and different treatments are really paramount for families, giving them the gift of time,” Marinelli noted.
Porco’s family wants to help raise funds for multiple myeloma research so that individuals with the disease can live longer and better lives.
So far, groups in Manitoba have put up about $25,000 for myeloma research. About 30 communities across the nation have walked for the cause and individuals can do virtual challenges too. Myeloma Canada hopes to raise $600,000 for research in 2021.
Porco stated her stem-cell transplant and chemotherapy have helped her to do the things she loves most — spending time with loved ones.
“I’m still alive and I’m very happy to say that,” Porco noted. “The three years [since being diagnosed] have been packed full of seeing our new grandchild, my daughter moved to a new house, we got to fix it up for her and all this kind of stuff. ”
“I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the treatments available.”