MMRF RACE FOR RESEARCH
Meet Marilyn Alexander
MMRF Race for Research:
Posted: September, 2013
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is delighted to recognize Marilyn Alexander as the Spirit of Hope honoree at the 2013 MMRF Race for Research: Philadelphia 5K Walk/Run. When Marilyn was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1993, she was given a frightening prognosis of three years to live.
Marilyn and her twin sister, Sharon, spent countless hours researching the disease and possible treatment options. At that time, there was no internet, no support groups specifically for myeloma, and very little resources to rely on for help. Later that year, Sharon gladly served as the donor for a bone marrow transplant that was recommended as the best treatment route for Marilyn. The months following the procedure were very scary and agonizing for them and their families, but Marilyn persevered and the transplant was ultimately successful.
After her transplant, Marilyn focused on creating a support group in the Philadelphia area specifically for myeloma patients. Marilyn and Sharon met several other patients throughout their journey, including Phil Falkowitz. In 1995, they all came together to form a support group called The Philadelphia Multiple Myeloma Networking Group (PMMNG), which first met around Phil’s kitchen table. As word spread and the group became larger, they evolved and relocated to the Wellness Community (now the Cancer Support Community of Philadelphia) and then to its current location – The Ralston House in University City.
"We’ve established a very successful support group in Philadelphia,” Marilyn shared. “We welcome new members every month and we are eager to be there to help newly diagnosed patients and their families every step of the way. We provide information, guidance and most importantly, hope."
When the MMRF was founded in 1998, the PMMNG quickly became involved and helped coordinate the first MMRF Race for Research: Philadelphia 5K Walk/Run, raising thousands of dollars for the MMRF and myeloma research.
Today, the PMMNG has well over 300 members and organizes its own annual 5K called the Miles for Myeloma 5K, which raises funds for the MMRF, the International Myeloma Foundation, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The 2013 Miles for Myeloma 5K event took place on April 27th and raised an astounding $46,500 for the MMRF, which the PMMNG will present at the Philadelphia Race for Research on October 5th. The 2014 Miles for Myeloma 5K will take place on Saturday, April 26, 2014. Registration will open soon on the PMMNG website.
The MMRF is deeply honored to present the Spirit of Hope Award to Marilyn, who is not only a survivor, but also an advocate, a shoulder to lean on, and a support system for so many people.
“There was no one around twenty years ago when I was first diagnosed with multiple myeloma,” said Marilyn. “It gives me pleasure to be able to help new patients who do not know where to turn when their whole world is turned upside down.”
Be sure to stop by the PMMNG tent on race day to learn more and to join the PMMNG. The group meets on the second Saturday of every month at the Ralston House and is always accepting new members. For more information, visit the PMMNG website.
Marilyn and her husband, Earl
From right to left, Marilyn, Earl,
The leaders of the PMMNG pose for a photo at their annual Miles for Myeloma 5K in Philadelphia