Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
Resources
About MyMyelomaTeam

Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
Resources
About MyMyelomaTeam
SPONSORED BY GSK ?

How Would You Use $100,000 To Improve Myeloma Care?

Posted on January 18, 2022
Article written by
Chris Greklek

  • People with multiple myeloma may face myriad challenges, including health care disparities and unmet emotional needs.
  • The new Target the Future Think Tank Challenge is an initiative that aims to address challenges that members of the multiple myeloma community face.
  • As part of the challenge, an individual or nonprofit organization that develops the most innovative idea will receive a $100,000 grant to bring the idea to life.

There was nothing like the “finish-line feeling” of completing a 140-mile Ironman endurance race in a single day. Pride, gratitude, and relief rushed over me. But that memory stands in contrast to the frustration, fear, and uncertainty I experienced just a few months later, learning I had an incurable cancer, one with no finish line in sight.

I’m 54 years old, and I’ve been living with multiple myeloma for more than 14 years. Getting my diagnosis was a drawn-out, confusing process, compounded by the next challenge: selecting the best course of treatment. I still get choked up remembering the day I found out I had an incurable cancer — and realizing I had to search for the right words to explain it to my three young children. It was an emotional turmoil I wouldn’t wish on anyone, yet I knew in that moment I wanted to live. I wanted more than anything for my children to grow up with a father.

There’s a physical piece and a mental side to this disease, magnified by the ups and downs of relapse and remission. What people may not understand is that those of us with multiple myeloma experience emotional triggers every day. We can look healthy and happy, but we may also be fighting nausea, fatigue, or even an infection. We are trying to plan our lives around doctors’ appointments, lab work, and the emotional waiting game of test results. So even though I’m living proof that multiple myeloma is not a death sentence, uncertainty hangs over my head. I worry about when my next relapse will be and what my future might look like.

Though my children were very young when I was first diagnosed, I’ve been able to watch my son and two daughters grow into beautiful adults, go to college, and start careers. In fact, my youngest daughter recently started college at my alma mater, which fills me with pride. My children kept me motivated through many dark moments. The dream I’ve always held close to my heart is to someday walk my daughters down the aisle. Yet I’ve realized these dreams aren’t reasonable for everyone. Not everybody has a support team to help them navigate the treatment journey. This is why I want to tell my story.

As promising new treatments emerge, we need help addressing the challenges we continue to face. These include finding the right care at every step, relieving emotional burdens, and addressing disparities. I am inspired that a new initiative from pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the Target the Future Think Tank Challenge, is rooted in our community’s needs. This program is committed to making an impact by supporting the development of innovative solutions.

As part of the Target the Future challenge, an individual or nonprofit organization that develops the most innovative idea addressing the unmet needs of people with multiple myeloma will receive a $100,000 grant to bring the idea to life. I invite you to visit the site, learn more, and submit an idea. Chronic cancers take a different type of endurance to conquer, and new ideas can pave the way, targeting a better future for us all.

Learn more

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Chris Greklek was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008. Learn more about him here.

Related articles

If you find challenges that make it hard to stay on your treatment plan for multiple myeloma,...

Problems With Staying on Myeloma Treatment? Find Support

If you find challenges that make it hard to stay on your treatment plan for multiple myeloma,...
Every myeloma therapy option comes with potential benefits and potential risks.Your doctor will...

Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Myeloma Treatment Options

Every myeloma therapy option comes with potential benefits and potential risks.Your doctor will...
There are now more therapies for multiple myeloma than ever before, with new treatments under...

Treatments for Myeloma

There are now more therapies for multiple myeloma than ever before, with new treatments under...
Most people with multiple myeloma need to undergo treatment. How do you know if these treatments...

What Is Minimal Residual Disease in Myeloma?

Most people with multiple myeloma need to undergo treatment. How do you know if these treatments...
Stem cell transplants are often used to treat multiple myeloma. This type of treatment has been...

Stem Cell Transplants for Multiple Myeloma: Your Guide

Stem cell transplants are often used to treat multiple myeloma. This type of treatment has been...
Blood cancers such as multiple myeloma are often treated with anti-cancer drugs called...

Chemotherapy for Multiple Myeloma: Your Guide

Blood cancers such as multiple myeloma are often treated with anti-cancer drugs called...

Recent articles

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is a noncancerous condition in which...

Can You Prevent MGUS From Progressing?

Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) is a noncancerous condition in which...
Working while undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma is a personal decision with several...

Working With Multiple Myeloma

Working while undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma is a personal decision with several...
Thanks to years of cancer research and public-health messaging, most people understand that...

Smoking and Multiple Myeloma

Thanks to years of cancer research and public-health messaging, most people understand that...
Around 63 percent of people newly diagnosed with myeloma are also living with — or have a history...

Understanding Heart Disease and Myeloma Treatment

Around 63 percent of people newly diagnosed with myeloma are also living with — or have a history...
Multiple myeloma is a cancer in which white blood cells called plasma cells develop abnormalities...

Myeloma and Ethnicity: Is Race a Risk Factor in Multiple Myeloma?

Multiple myeloma is a cancer in which white blood cells called plasma cells develop abnormalities...
Feelings of worry, fear, and anxiety are common when living with cancer such as myeloma. In fact,...

Managing Anxiety and Myeloma

Feelings of worry, fear, and anxiety are common when living with cancer such as myeloma. In fact,...
MyMyelomaTeam My myeloma Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close