Bob Trudeau, a father of two daughters and an avid outdoorsman, loved going on trail runs and backpacking treks around his home in Kamloops.
If it weren’t for the intense pain in his torso that suddenly began in the fall of 2016, he would have continued his outings, but the pain was too intense.
Instead, Trudeau spent the next couple of months consulting doctors and undergoing tests. When he learned the reason for his pain was 11 fractured vertebrae, he was in total disbelief.
What was even more shocking was when Trudeau learned that bone fractures are a common symptom of multiple myeloma, a little known and incurable blood cancer that he would be diagnosed with on Jan. 3, 2017.
He was 59 years old at the time.
“It was unbelievable,” Trudeau said. “I have always led a very active, healthy life. My family and I were shocked and devastated to suddenly find out that I have an incurable cancer. And one that I’d never even heard of.”
The encouraging news was that Trudeau was deemed eligible for a stem cell transplant within months of his diagnosis, in August 2017. He had to undergo several rounds of difficult and aggressive chemotherapy to prepare him for the procedure.
A few months following the stem cell transplant, Trudeau was ecstatic to learn that the procedure was a success; his condition was stable. He was able to stop treatments and even start running again. Unfortunately, 18 months later, doctors discovered that his myeloma had resurfaced. The relapse was a terrible blow, but Trudeau’s positive attitude, his will to live and his family’s support got him through the next rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy medications.
The hope was that this regimen would stop the progression of the myeloma.
The treatments kept Trudeau’s myeloma at bay for just under two years. But in March of 2021, he relapsed once again. Grateful to have access to another treatment option, Trudeau recently began a new drug therapy that has, so far, been successful in keeping his myeloma in check.
Thanks to this new therapy, he has been able to get back to trail running and the outdoor activities he enjoys, although not with the same energy he had before.
Trudeau’s journey with multiple myeloma is not uncommon. Without a cure, the myeloma can resurface at any point. People living with this incurable blood cancer rely on advances in research and the availability of new drug treatments to help improve their quality and length of life.
Trudeau is hoping to stay one step ahead of the disease. Thanks to the incredible strides in myeloma research, he has been able to take advantage of different treatment options that have enabled him to live longer and spend more time with those who matter most — his family.
“We’re really hoping there will be a cure sometime soon because I really need one,” he said, noting his focus is now on his grandchildren and supporting others living with myeloma.
Grateful for the advances in research that have kept him alive, Trudeau said it is important that he continues to provide leadership and a sense of community to others living with myeloma as co-leader of the Kamloops Myeloma Support Group.
“By coming together, we can better help those who have been newly diagnosed with myeloma and give them support,” he said. For these reasons, Trudeau will be lacing up to raise awareness and critical research funds at the fifth annual Kamloops Multiple Myeloma March. The 5K walk/run will be taking place on Sunday, Sept. 12 at 9 a.m. at Pioneer Park just east of downtown Kamloops.
The objective is set at $10,000.
“As we continue to raise awareness of myeloma, we are getting closer to reaching a cure than ever before,” said Martine Elias, executive director of Myeloma Canada.
“Now is an exciting and encouraging time in myeloma research. There are many new clinical advances being made to help improve the quality and length of life of those living with this disease. That’s why it is crucial that we continue to raise funds for research, so that sooner than later, a cure for myeloma will be found.”
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