April Cooper, from Irving, Texas, will traverse Alaska crossing over glaciers, through deep valleys, and ascending challenging peaks to raise awareness and funds for Multiple Myeloma. April will be a part of a 12-person team that will consist of Multiple Myeloma patients, caregivers, family members and doctors. This climb will be taking place on August 16-21 and is a joint initiative between the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and CURE Media Group.
A few short years ago April Cooper had never heard of multiple myeloma. In the fall of 2015 her beautiful mom, Brenda, slipped while cleaning the bathtub and hit her rib on the side of the tub. That injury never quite healed and eventually she went to the doctor. She ended up having lesions on her ribs (among other places) and she was diagnosed with multiple myeloma and thyroid cancer in January 2016. For the next year and eight months, we navigated life with this cancer as a family.
There is nothing easy about cancer. The patient endures so much, and so does the family. With no training, families become caregivers and nurses essentially, learning every aspect of the disease and treatment.
April’s mother passed away in August of 2017 and was only 52 years old. Almost immediately after she passed away, April felt this pull to keep her memory alive and honor her by participating in events and challenges that drive cancer research for multiple myeloma. Since August 2017 she has joined friends in MMRF 5Ks, tower climbs, mountain climbs and now this Alaskan trek, all while raising thousands of dollars for a cure. This will be her second challenge with Moving Mountains for multiple myeloma and she is so thrilled to be part of this team.
"Training for this event is a big challenge, but nothing compared to the challenges faced by patients with multiple myeloma. I watched my mother struggle to do the most basic things. Walking, getting up with ease, holding a spoon, brushing her teeth, turning over in bed...all things that caused her a great deal of pain and frustration. As she struggled, I remember her saying, "I used to be able to do this..." in such a defeated tone. It was heartbreaking to see her in pain. I think of that when I ask myself if I'm up to this challenge. If she could do that, I can do this!", says April.
April is not an avid hiker, but being with a group that pushes her to keep trekking is an incredible feeling. MM4MM is so important to her because it gives her the chance to talk about my mother, to share her journey and struggles. This event gives her hope that future and current patients are beating this disease thanks to the advancements in cancer research.
"Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer. Over 30,000 people are diagnosed yearly with multiple myeloma and an estimated 12,000 are predicted to die each year from the disease. I'm proud to be part of the ACTION that is helping fund and fuel important research: Thanks to the important work of the MMRF and our partners, the FDA has approved ELEVEN new treatments in the time that it usually takes for ONE new drug to come to market. There are more treatment options in the pipeline. This is so important because myeloma is a cunning disease which morphs through treatment, meaning patients often need new treatment options when they relapse"
April is looking forward to the fellowship, stories, connections and the gorgeous views but more than anything, she is excited to be brave like Brenda.
To help April's cause with a donation, use the following link: https://give.themmrf.org/fundraiser/3006243