Bob Trudeau loves the outdoors.
It was his profession, through the B.C. forest service until his retirement in 2013; it was—and still is, in ways—his recreation, through running, hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing around the Kamloops area.
Three years after his retirement, Trudeau began experiencing severe pain but pushed through it until it was too much to bear.
When he finally submitted himself to a trip to the doctor, he learned he had 11 fractured vertebrae. After further tests, in January 2019 Trudeau was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a little-known and incurable blood cancer of the plasma cells. He was 59.
“When I was diagnosed, I thought, ‘how could this happen to me?’ I’ve always lived a healthy lifestyle, eating well and exercising my whole life. To end up with an incurable cancer was a real shock,” said Bob.
Trudeau began chemotherapy and underwent a stem cell transplant. He lost an inch-and-a-half in height due to the fractures in his spine.
After a lengthy stint in remission, Trudeau’s cancer struck back earlier this year. He’s once again undergoing treatment with a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy drugs.
But Trudeau’s active lifestyle has proven to be a tool he can use to combat the same disease that is trying to take it away.
As such, Bob is actively involved with the third edition of the Kamloops Multiple Myeloma March being held on Sunday, Sept. 8, at 9 a.m. at Pioneer Park in Kamloops.
“The Multiple Myeloma March is a great opportunity to get the word out about the disease and bring the Kamloops myeloma community together,” said Trudeau. “This year, I hope that we can get more people out walking and raising more money for research.”
The Multiple Myeloma March is Myeloma Canada’s main fundraiser, driven to improve the lives of those impacted by myeloma and to support research toward finding a cure. This is the 11th year of the five-kilometre walk/run on a national level.
“Myeloma patients have seen their treatment options increase exponentially over the past decade. Thanks to major strides in research, not only has quality of life improved but we’re encouraged to say that life expectancies have more than doubled in the past 15 years and this is continuing on an upward trend,” said Dr. Greg Dueck, principal investigator at the B.C. Cancer Agency’s Centre for the Southern Interior.
“We’re now seeing incredibly promising treatment options that are helping us to stay ahead of the disease, such as CAR T-Cell therapy, Bi-specific T-cell engagers (BiTEs), immunotherapies, and many more advances that are in development. For the first time, we can actually say that we’re getting closer to finding a cure. Investing in research is critical, which is why raising funds is more important than ever.”
Kamloops is one of a record 28 communities across Canada participating in this year’s Multiple Myeloma March. Kamloops’ financial objective is $15,000.
“The annual Multiple Myeloma March is not just a fun, but essential, community-building and fundraising event. Through the march, those whose lives have been touched by myeloma get to meet and connect with one another while raising funds for advancing critical clinical research. Each step taken is one that brings us closer to finding a cure,” said Martine Elias, executive director of Myeloma Canada.