Left to right: Joyce Hannett (mother), Susan Schmalz (daughter), Josie Schmalz (grand-daughter) [Contributed]

Kelowna mother-daughter duo marching for multiple myeloma research

The Multiple Myeloma March takes place Sunday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m.

Myeloma Canada’s Multiple Myeloma March is back nationwide and Kelowna is taking part for the seventh time.

In Kelowna, the five-kilometre walk to help raise money for myeloma research. The event hits home for Joyce Hannett and her daughter, Susan Schmalz, who take part in the event every year.

Hannett was diagnosed with multiple myeloma back in Aug. 2009.

“It was nerve-wracking and scary,” said Schmalz. “I have to say that my mother started to figure out something wasn’t right by the types of tests her doctor was having her do, but we were all still in denial. And, to make matters worse, myeloma was a cancer that none of us had ever heard of or knew anything about.”

Myeloma is the second most common type of blood cancer in Canada. While Hannett, who’s now 82, has never reached remission, she’s hopeful that events like this help raise awareness and makes strides to get closer to a cure.

“I’m one of the lucky ones,” said Hannett. “I’m grateful to be alive and to be a part of my children, Susan and Kevin, and my two grandchildren, Christopher and Josie’s lives.”

(Contributed)

While helping her mother along her journey, Schmalz became the leader of the Kelowna Myeloma Support Group and the Kelowna Multiple Myeloma March.

“When you have a loved one who has an incurable cancer like myeloma, you’ll do anything to help them,” said Schmalz. “You hope that there will be treatment options available when needed, and that researchers will find a cure. I’m so proud of the work we do with the Support Group and the March. We’ve built momentum over the years as a community and are thankful for the unwavering support of Myeloma Canada.”

This year, the Kelowna march is just one of 34 happening nationwide on Sunday, Sept 17. Myeloma Canada has set the goal of $750,000 raised across the country with $20,000 coming from the Kelowna event. As of Sept. 1, more than $225,000 have been raised.

Across the province, the walk is also taking place in Kamloops, Prince George, Vancouver, Vancouver Island (unspecified), and White Rock.

“Every year, we’re getting closer to finding a cure,” says Martine Elias, Executive Director of Myeloma Canada. “That’s why the funds raised at the Kelowna Multiple Myeloma March are so critical. They’ll help to keep myeloma research moving forward and to improve the lives of Canadians impacted by this devastating disease.”

Kelowna’s event will start at 10 a.m. at Kerry Park.

To register, donate, or more general information, visit Myeloma Canada.

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@cunninghamjordy
jordy.cunningham@kelownacapnews.com

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