Cancer Advocate Runs Record 200 Miles, Raises over $1M for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
Dollars raised will fund critical research for multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer
PR Newswire, New York, NY – September 20, 2016 – This weekend, ultra-marathoner and multiple myeloma advocate, Eric Gelber, made history by completing a record 200 miles around New York’s Central Park to raise awareness and research dollars for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) during Blood Cancer Awareness Month. Eric’s “Journey Towards a Cure” for this incurable blood cancer drew support from hundreds of donors, runners and advocates who flocked to Central Park and to the MMRF’s donation page to help him cross the finish line and exceed his fundraising goal, surpassing $1 million as the weekend came to a close. Tribeca Studios was on-site to capture it all as part of a documentary dedicated to highlighting Eric and the MMRF’s innovative research efforts titled, “Just a Mile to Go.”
Eric’s journey with the MMRF began nine years ago when he decided to run his first marathon to raise research dollars in honor of his close friend of 20 years, Anita, who ultimately lost her life to myeloma. After that first marathon, inspired by the MMRF’s progress in advancing myeloma treatments, he started taking on longer distances and tougher fundraising challenges. Eric, who has now completed six marathons and over 20 ultra-marathons in Anita’s honor, believes supporting MMRF research is the fastest way to discovering a cure for myeloma and fulfilling Anita’s legacy. More than $300,000 raised this weekend enabled him to reach a personal fundraising goal of over $1 million for the MMRF.
“This weekend, I crossed a finish line, but our ultimate finish line can only be reached by supporting increased myeloma research,” said Eric. “I’m happy to have made an impact in this effort and am thankful to all who came out this weekend to support me and the MMRF in this ongoing journey towards a cure.”
As the world's number one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF, together with teams of scientists, partners, patients and advocates – like Eric, has transformed the treatment and outlook for myeloma patients over the last decade. The organization’s unique precision medicine model – fueled by information and data sharing, collaborative expertise, technology, speed and urgency – is rapidly accelerating next-generation discoveries for myeloma patients. In 2015 alone, four new myeloma treatments were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration – an unprecedented feat in any cancer. These innovative medicines have helped increase the five-year survival rate for myeloma patients by over 40 percent.
“Eric is an inspiration. He demonstrates the power we all have to make a meaningful difference in advancing myeloma research and finding a cure,” said Paul Giusti, President and CEO of the MMRF. “We are extremely thankful to Eric and congratulate him on his relentless determination to support the MMRF’s ground-breaking precision medicine model, which is the only end-to-end solution in cancer research today.”
Eric’s run began at 8:00 a.m. in Central Park on Friday, September 16, and finished just before 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 18. Throughout his run, Eric was joined by 107 runners who ran portions of the run by his side to cheer him on. He marks the first person to complete this feat. In total, Eric:
- took more than 250,000 steps;
- drank 12 gallons of water;
- and went through 6 pairs of shoes.
In addition to the MMRF, Eric’s run was supported by Celgene Corporation, Dick’s Sporting Goods, T-Mobile and CURE magazine. Tribeca Studios has plans to release the complete Just a Mile to Go documentary film later this year.
About Multiple Myeloma
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cell. It is the second most common blood cancer. An estimated 30,330 adults (17,900 men and 12,430 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2016 and an estimated 12,650 people are predicted to die from the disease. The five-year survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 47%, versus 31% in 1999.
About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy’s diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As the world’s number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised $300 million since its inception and directs nearly 90% of total budget to research and related programming. As a result, the MMRF has been awarded Charity Navigator’s coveted four-star rating for 12 years, the highest designation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and exceptional efficiency. Donations to the MMRF can be made at www.themmrf.org. Follow the MMRF on Facebook, Twitter (#justamiletogo) or text “Eric” to 80077.
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