The Duke Division of Hematologic Malignancies & Cellular Therapy is gearing up to host its Annual Duke Multiple Myeloma Bike Ride, to be held this year on Saturday, June 15.
Cyclists will saddle up at 8 a.m. just outside the Duke University Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic at Duke North Pavilion, on 2400 Pratt Street in Durham.
Held most years since 2008, the picturesque course (with a 25k, 50k, and 100k option) through rural Durham and Orange counties attracts hundreds of riders and their supporters. Registration fees and additional funds raised benefit multiple myeloma research at Duke.
There's been a strong nationwide push in recent years to find new ways to treat this incurable disease that forms in the plasma cells of the blood. It's the third most common blood cancer after lymphoma and leukemia, and the number of diagnoses is increasing every year.
According to the latest figures from the American Cancer Society, the lifetime risk of getting multiple myeloma is 1 in 132. An estimated 32,110 new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year and 12,960 people will die of this disease.
“Unfortunately, multiple myeloma remains an obscure disease for the vast majority of the population,” said Cristina Gasparetto, MD, director of the Multiple Myeloma program at Duke. “Part of overcoming this issue requires raising awareness, as well as educating patients and their caregivers facing a diagnosis of multiple myeloma. As myeloma therapy continues to evolve with new novel agents, diagnostic tools, transplant advances, and hope for extended survival, they require additional educational opportunities and support.”
To that end, Gasparetto and undergraduate researcher and patient educator Dharshan Sivaraj last year published a book for the newly diagnosed called "Understanding Multiple Myeloma."
CIRCLE PHOTO (TOP): Cristina Gasparetto, MD (left) and multiple myeloma survivor Thomas Goode at the finish line of a previous ride.