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MMRF race for research unites families in fight against cancer

Updated 10:35 pm, Wednesday, June 27, 2012

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  • The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation held its 2012 MMRF Race for Research: Tri-State 5K Walk-Run June 10, 2012. Above, Team Darien with Walter Capone, MMRF chief operating officer. Darien, Conn. Photo: Contributed Photo
    The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation held its 2012 MMRF Race for Research: Tri-State 5K Walk-Run June 10, 2012. Above, Team Darien with Walter Capone, MMRF chief operating officer. Darien, Conn. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation's ninth annual MMRF Race for Research: Tri-State 5K Walk/Run June 10, at New Canaan High School in New Canaan, raised more than $325,000 to support the MMRF's work to accelerate the development of next-generation treatments for patients with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer. Donations continue to arrive and can still be made at the race website at www.themmrf.org/tristate5k.

New Canaan Resident Ann Curry, NBC Today co-anchor, has served as National MMRF Honorary Race for Research chaiman since 2004 and is also a member of the MMRF Honorary Board of Directors. Curry joined more than 1,500 participants for the 2012 MMRF Race for Research: Tri-State 5K Walk/Run.

This year marked a significant milestone for Kathy Giusti, a multiple myeloma patient and New Canaan resident who is the founder and CEO of the MMRF. When Giusti was diagnosed with myeloma in 1996 and told she had three years to live, she just hoped to live long enough to see her daughter go to kindergarten. Today, Giusti's daughter is preparing to graduate from New Canaan High School and start college this fall. This is one of the important milestones the Giusti family has experienced beyond what they thought was possible.

"As this race is held in my hometown, it holds a special place in my heart and I am always so impressed by the incredible support that this event receives from the local community and from myeloma patients, their family members and their friends in the tri-state area," Giusti said. "Proceeds from events like this race have enabled the MMRF to make accomplishments in the field of myleoma research that I never imagined I would see. The MMRF has become one of the leading research foundations in the world, recognized and respected for our collaborative models to speed the development of new treatments for this still incurable disease."

The MMRF Race for Research: Tri-State 5K Walk/Run is the cornerstone event of the MMRF race program. Held annually in nine cities across the country, the race series raises both awareness and funds for multiple myeloma research. Since its inception in 2001 in Chicago, the program has raised more than $17 million to support the urgent work of the MMRF. Participation offers camaraderie and knowledge sharing for patients, patient family members and friends, members of the myeloma community and others.

Significant MMRF achievements made possible by funding from programs like the MMRF Race for Research series include opening 38 clinical trials with 21 novel myeloma treatments, sequencing the multiple myeloma genome and initiating CoMMpass -- a groundbreaking, landmark study designed to uncover the molecular segments and variations in multiple myeloma. The most ambitious study of its kind in multiple myeloma, the CoMMpass study is the cornerstone of the larger MMRF Personalized Medicine Initiative, intended to help accelerate a cure.

The MMRF is fielding teams for upcoming events in the Tri-State area including the New York Triathlon July 8, the Ironman U.S. Championship in New York City Aug. 11, and the ING New York City Marathon Nov. 4. Additionally, the 15th anniversary MMRF fall gala will take place Oct. 27 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich in Old Greenwich. To participate, support, or learn about all MMRF events, visit www.themmrf.org/events.

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation was established in 1998 as a nonprofit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Giusti'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 No. 1 private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised more than $190 million since its inception and directs 90 percent of total budget to research and related programming. As a result, the MMRF has been awarded Charity Navigator's four star rating for nine consecutive years, the highest designation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and exceptional efficiency. For more information about the MMRF, visit www.themmrf.org.

Multiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer. The five-year relative survival rate for multiple myeloma is approximately 38 percent, one of the lowest of all cancers. In 2012, more than 20,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma and nearly 11,000 people are predicted to die from the disease.