Myeloma walk

Erwin Malzer, seen here with his wife, Rose, will walk in the Multipe Myeloma March on Sept. 12.

A local man given six months to live after being diagnosed with a deadly form of blood cancer in 2016 will lead a virtual fundraising walk on Sept. 12.

Erwin Malzer, a former chairman of Interior Health, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a little-known and incurable cancer of the plasma cells. He was then 69 years old.

Shortly after his diagnosis, Malzer received radiation treatment before undergoing chemotherapy and then a stem cell transplant in June 2017. Nearly four years later, he has exceeded his doctor’s expectations, his condition is stable and his cancer is in remission.

He credits his survival to the life-saving treatments that he had access to and the love and support he received from his wife, three adult children, and two grandchildren. “Rose is my saviour. I don’t think I could have managed without her,” he said in a news release.

Advances in multiple myeloma research are helping extend the lives of patients like Malzer, which is why he’s so involved in the fifth annual Multiple Myeloma March taking place at 11 a.m. on Sept. 12.

Like other fundraising walks, a big celebratory event with a start and finish line isn’t possible during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Participants are encouraged to hold their own walks in their neighbourhood. The goal for the Kelowna event is to raise $5,000.

This year, a minimum of 50% of funds raised by the Multiple Myeloma March will go directly to support Myeloma Canada’s Myeloma Research Priority Setting Partnership. The PSP will use input provided by the Canadian myeloma community to identify and define investments in myeloma research over the next 18 months. The balance raised will go toward supporting various myeloma research projects and initiatives.

Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer.

To participate, donate or just find out more information, go to myeloma.ca.