James Crooke - Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

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James Crooke

Philadelphia 5K Walk/Run

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is delighted to recognize Jim Crooke as the MMRF Spirit of Hope Honoree at the 2016 MMRF Team for Cures: Philadelphia 5K Walk/Run.

James Crooke

Posted September 2016

Jim Crooke was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the summer of 2010. He had his first stem cell transplant in January 2011 and after a few years of remission had his second stem cell transplant in April 2015. With the success of the second transplant having fully run its course, Jim has just completed his third stem cell transplant and is recovering with the hope that there will be new treatment options available for him to keep fighting.

As Natalie, Jim’s daughter, began to realize they were running out of treatment options for Jim, they were becoming more aware of the importance of research and clinical trials as options to keep fighting. Natalie, who also serves as team captain for “Team Crooke: In it to End it”, decided to see if there were any fundraising events in their area that would allow them to do more to help. She googled multiple myeloma research fundraisers and that is how her family became aware of the MMRF. They saw a 5K race was happening in Philadelphia and they knew that was what they wanted to participate in!

Team Crooke: In it to End it is a team of family and friends who have always been united in supporting Jim throughout his journey with multiple myeloma. Their team name derives from this large collection of people and their commitment to Jim.

“We have a large and loving extended family full of parents, children, brothers, sisters, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, and even grand-nephew and nieces. We all make up a team. Additionally, we have so many friends who have come along side of our family to support us and they are truly a part of this team too. As a team, we are committed to keep fighting multiple myeloma in any way we can for as long as we can. With that mindset it seemed natural to add the “In It To End It” to reflect this commitment,” said Natalie.

Last year was the team’s first time participating in the event and they have decided that this is something they will be doing every year. Natalie jokes, “I think we may have been the team with the most children in “double strollers” so we may make that our tradition!”

“Why am I still here?” That was the question Jim had asked the hospice nurse one morning last December. He had been on hospice care for about six weeks following a hospital stay of a month which included D-Pace Chemo, a white blood cell count of zero, fevers, multiple times in the ICU, and surgery for invasive fungal sinusitis. It seemed his time here was coming to an end. The reply for the nurse that morning was “It takes some people longer than others.”

“Looking back this answer made some sense, but the real purpose of my survival was clearly the fact that God was not done with me yet. He has a plan for each of our lives. His plan for me has become obvious these past several months. He has given me a full schedule of serving him and others on a daily basis,” said Jim.

The encouragement Jim has received from so many enables him to face each day seeking opportunities to help and encourage others. “Just taking everything and every step of this journey day by day and following God’s lead on a daily basis”.

He adds, “Getting off of hospice care and regaining my strength helped me to understand the power of our God through the prayers of his people. The MMRF, the efforts of researchers, doctors, and nurses, and people who have given financially are also a big part of the answer to “why am I still here.”

Now that Jim has completed his third stem cell transplant he is feeling more support than ever. “The support I have felt from the MMRF, family, friends, and fellow patients has been overwhelming. Thank you all for your efforts in finding a cure for myeloma, and for the hope that is in my heart. God Bless each of you!”

When Jim was asked what being given this award meant to him he responded, “It reminds me that there are so many caring people in my life supporting me.”

The MMRF works tirelessly to find a cure to extend the lives of patients, just like Jim, and is proud to honor Jim Crooke as the 2016 recipient of the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award, given at every MMRF 5K Walk/Run event to a person or team who inspires hope and shows extraordinary commitment to the MMRF. Jim Crooke has touched the myeloma community with his strength of character, his kindness, and his embodiment of hope.