Three years after retiring from the BC Forest Service in 2013, Bob Trudeau of Kamloops began experiencing extreme pain in his torso while out on his regular trail runs and backpacking treks in the area around his hometown
A fit, avid outdoorsman who followed a healthy and active lifestyle, Trudeau was concerned and decided to see his doctor. After a series of tests, he was dumbfounded to learn that the pain was the result of 11 fractured vertebrae — a common symptom of the disease with which he would soon be diagnosed.
A few weeks later, on Jan. 3, 2017, Trudeau, then 59, was even more stunned when he received the diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a little-known and incurable cancer of the plasma cells.
“It was like, ‘Happy New Year, you’ve got myeloma,’” Trudeau said. “To suddenly find out that I had an incurable cancer that I’d never heard of was unbelievable. I’ve always led a very active and healthy life. I just couldn’t understand it. I was shocked.”
Shortly after his diagnosis, Trudeau underwent intense chemotherapy in preparation for a stem cell transplant in August 2017 The transplant was a success he was in remission. Unfortunately, 18 months later, the myeloma resurfaced and he had to find another treatment regimen to keep the cancer in check.
Today, Trudeau’s condition is stable and he is on a maintenance program consisting of a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy drugs.
Trudeau, who has returned to running, is co-leading the Kamloops Myeloma Support Group.
“My wife, Jennifer and I have been wanting grandchildren for years and now it's happening!” he said. “We're very much enjoying little Jacob and being able to help our daughter.”
Trudeau and his family will be raising funds for myeloma research and awareness of the disease when they take part in the fourth annual Kamloops Multiple Myeloma March, which will take place on Sunday, Sept. 13, at 9 a.m.
This year’s event has been modified to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In compliance with physical-distancing measures, participants are encouraged to hold their own walk in their neighbourhood at the same time as the regularly scheduled march on Sept. 13. Trudeau plans to run and walk 50 kilometres on a trail he has mapped out around Kamloops.
Local participants have set their fundraising goal at $10,000. The national fundraising goal is set at $650,000.
The Multiple Myeloma March is now in its 12th year. The annual five-kilometre event brings Canadian communities together to raise funds for research and to help improve the lives of those impacted by myeloma. Kamloops is one of a record 33 communities across the country to be included in this year’s event. Information can be found by clicking here.
About the disease
Multiple myeloma, also known as myeloma, is the second-most common form of blood cancer. Myeloma affects a type of immune cell called the plasma cell, found in the bone marrow. Every day, nine Canadians are diagnosed, yet in spite of its growing prevalence, the disease remains relatively unknown.
While there is no cure, people with myeloma are living longer and better lives, thanks to recent breakthroughs in treatment. To learn more, or to donate, visit www.myeloma.ca.