Sally Crate had heard of multiple myeloma before she was diagnosed since her father had died of the unusual blood illness.
She got a stem cell transplant in October 2008, which is one of the recognized treatments for the condition.
There is no recognized treatment for this condition. She described the process as simple and quick. The next day, she was out on her way home.
“It felt almost like a rebirth,” she explained. Crate now devotes some of her time to raising funds for a cure for multiple myeloma. Crate assisted with the product booth on Sunday and participated in a five-kilometer walk that started at the Port of Saint John and took in some of the Harbour Passage.
The goal of the walk was to raise $10,000 for the cure, and before the event even began, the group had already raised $8,700.
The march went virtual in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year, it was back in person. Participants were sporting red, with red daisies and even some red shoes.
The major fundraising goal this year is $600,000 nationally, according to the march’s organizing website. Saint John and Moncton each have a march in the province, with another taking place in Halifax.
There are plasma cells that are primarily found in the bone marrow. Those marrow plasma cells sometimes change and cease to behave normally. They then multiply and produce more abnormal cells.
“These abnormal plasma cells begin to divide uncontrollably and make more abnormal plasma cells. These changes can lead to multiple myeloma (a cancer of the plasma cells) or a precancerous condition called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS),” according to the Canadian Cancer Society.
The Canadian Cancer Society adds, “multiple myeloma develops when there is a buildup of many abnormal plasma cells (called myeloma cells) in the bone marrow. It makes it hard for other blood cells in the bone marrow to develop and work normally.”
It can cause symptoms such as fatigue and can upset the balance of certain minerals in the body. It can lead to bone damage and high levels of calcium in the blood and make multiple proteins that affect organs like the kidneys.
Crate stated that staying positive is the most important thing for her. She now considers every day a miracle because she is in remission.
“I’m fine,” she stated. “It’s been a process of simply living day to day… Every day, I write in my journal and strive to be positive.”
She said that difficult days can happen, but she always strives to turn things around, and she would advise anyone in her situation to do the same.
Her first grandchild is also a little beam of brightness, she noted.
She stated, “We find joy in a variety of things.” “Most likely, don’t take life for granted and strive to savor every moment.”