A Prince George woman and her family will be participating in this year’s local Multiple Myeloma March for reasons that hit close to home for them.
Jenn Collins was diagnosed with the rare form of plasma cell cancer in 2015, when a doctor’s visit for shoulder and rib pain turned into something much more serious.
Now the mother of three is doing all she can to help raise awareness of the condition, setting a goal to raise $18,000 to help further cure research.
“When I got the news, I went numb. The shock set in when doctors told me that I had just three to five years to live. I realized I wouldn’t see my kids grow up,” Collins recalled.
“I was devastated. I wanted to be there for my kids,” she added.
Shortly after she was diagnosed, Collins underwent extensive chemotherapy in preparation for a stem cell transplant later that same year.
After the procedure, she spent the next four years in remission, however in November of 2019 Collins suffered a recurrence of the disease.
She underwent another round of chemotherapy and was scheduled to receive a second stem cell transplant this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced doctors to postpone the procedure.
In the meantime, Collins explained her condition is relatively stable and she is able to resume her favorite hobbies including skiing, playing softball and going for walks with her family, which she says helps her physically and mentally.
“I know I’m not out of the woods yet, but I feel lucky to be alive and know that I have access to new treatments,” said Collins.
“This gives me hope for the future, which is why I’m doing all I can to get the word out and help researchers find a cure by fundraising for myeloma.”
This year’s march has been slightly modified to comply with physical distancing measures, so participants are being asked to hold their own walk in their neighborhood at the same time as the regular march.
“Myeloma research has produced extremely promising results over the past two decades. In fact, for the first time, there is potential for a cure,” says Farah McKenzie, Nurse Practitioner at BC Cancer of the North and a supporter of the Prince George Multiple Myeloma March.
“We can’t afford to let the current situation stop the progress we’ve made and put vulnerable people living with myeloma at risk, which is why it’s more crucial than ever to invest in research and find a cure.”
Prince George is one of 33 communities across the country participating in this year’s march, which will kick off September 19th at 10:00 am.