Saskatoon blood cancer survivor aims for cure by hosting fundraiser and walk
A Saskatoon woman with an incurable blood cancer, myeloma, is hoping to raise awareness and money to help find a cure.
Marie Prokopiw is a retired nurse and was diagnosed with myeloma 10 years ago after getting blood work due to several symptoms she was experiencing.
Multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that forms in a type of white cell, called a plasma cell, found in bone marrow.
“And so of course I went through all the usual symptoms of ‘why on earth did this happen to me,’” Prokopiw told CTV News.
In 2015 Prokopiw received a stem cell transplant and was able to recover.
The following year she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“I thought we can do something about this one you know, I mean lots of people are living with having had breast cancer,” she said.
Prokopiw was able to get treatment and is in remission for both cancers.
Now, she wants to help others with myeloma and raise money and awareness to find a cure.
The Multiple Myeloma March in Saskatoon is happening on Sept. 26 at 2:30 p.m. at the Zion Lutheran Church.
Prokopiw is hoping to raise more than $20,000. Those who want to social distance or can’t attend are encouraged to walk in their own neighbourhood to show their support.
“Even (if) the doctors became more aware of what multiple myeloma is as well as people, then it would be more easily diagnosed and people wouldn’t have to suffer as long,” Prokopiw said.
80 SASK. CASES A YEAR
Dr. Julie Stakiw, an oncologist at the Saskatoon Cancer Centre, says there are 80 new cases of myeloma a year in Saskatchewan.
Stakiw says while mammograms and CT scans can diagnose other cancers, there isn’t an official screening process for myeloma.
“And so it usually ends up being a disease that’s usually diagnosed when people have symptoms, and by the time they have symptoms from multiple myeloma the symptoms can cause a lot of organ damage,” Stakiew told CTV News.
Stakiew says blood cancer often doesn’t get as much attention as breast or lung cancer, another reason why people may not have heard of it.
Fatigue, bone pain and lower back pain are some symptoms that people with myeloma might experience.
“The more awareness that we have, the more that maybe people are willing to contribute to the research and work towards finding a cure.”