Jane Kielt - Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

Featured Supporter:
Jane Kielt

Philadelphia 5K Walk/Run

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is delighted to recognize Jane Kielt as the MMRF Spirit of Hope Honoree at the 2015 MMRF Team for Cures: Philadelphia 5K Walk/Run.

Jane’s Story

A survivor, by definition is a person who copes with difficulties in their life. In 2006, Jane’s 80-year-old father was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. Like most, she had no idea what that meant. After doing some research, she discovered it to be a blood cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow, which can be treated but not cured. He was diabetic and had heart disease so his treatment options were limited.  He passed in ten months’ time. Jane didn’t realize at that time he was showing her how to be strong and positive when faced with adversity.

Jane’s story begins where she was born, in the Bronx, NY and lived there until she was six years old. Then their family moved to North Jersey where her father would commute to his commercial art studio in Manhattan and her mother to her bookkeeping job for a Union. During freshman year at the University of Maryland, Jane met her future husband, Larry, who was from her hometown. They were married in 1977 and lived in Baltimore until Larry joined the Air Force. They lived in Louisiana, California and Texas, before finally settling in South Jersey.  She was able to teach during their travels for a total of 26 years. Jane is fortunate to have two grown children, Cecelia and Andrew, and their significant others living nearby.

In 2008 Jane retired, mostly because she was feeling tired all the time and didn’t want the art program she was running to suffer because she couldn’t keep up, thinking it was old age. She was enjoying her first full year of retirement when she woke up with a backache, and after 2 months of tests, Jane was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in July 2010.

Since 2010, Jane has gone through many treatments, including induction therapy ( RVD ), two kyphoplasty surgeries repairing four vertebrae, and two tandem autologous stem cell transplants. Jane relapsed in 2012 and has been in treatment since then.

“Going through my first transplant, I would share my daily journal with family and friends. Everyone kept saying I was an “inspiration”, this was an “aha” moment for me. I was doing what I had to do to survive, inspiring people was an accidental and rewarding bonus.”

From the day Jane was diagnosed to the 100th day post transplant (second time around), she was so focused on getting better, she had no idea what affect her actions had on others.  Luckily, it was a positive one. Jane feels fortunate to have her loving husband Larry, who is her rock.  He and their children help her get through each day.  She thrives on their love and strength.  Jane has been through so much but so has her family.  We tend to forget how cancer affects not only the patient but the loved ones around them as well.

“I am fortunate to have such a large group of friends and family lifting me up!”

The other day, Jane went for a walk with her friend, Claire, who is upbeat and has a wonderful outlook. They were discussing the fact that they both dislike the descriptions of cancer patients as “fighters” or “battling” cancer.  The drugs they take are doing that for them.  They are learning to “live” with cancer. Therefore, they live each day to the fullest, making sure they tell people they love them, enjoying every moment they have with them.  They know how important it is to surround themselves with people who keep them positive.

After Jane’s diagnosis, she discovered the MMRF through the literature her doctor gave her to read. Everything was written so well, that she had a clearer understanding of what was ahead.  Since 2010, Jane’s family has been actively involved with the MMRF community and are passionate about supporting this valuable foundation. Multiple Myeloma presents itself differently in most patients, so finding the right course of treatment is a challenge for the doctors.

It truly takes a village of family, friends, doctors, nurses, researchers and the MMRF to help a patient with multiple myeloma. When it came time to name her team for the MMRF 5k in Philadelphia, “Jane’s Village” seemed like a natural choice. They have participated in the race for four years, and last year they were the largest team at the event. Traditionally, they have made up their own Jane’s Village t-shirts to show their unity, pride and spirit.  Afterwards, the entire team heads to Jane’s son Andrew’s place for celebratory brunch!

Painting has been very therapeutic for Jane.  She loves to get lost in a watercolor and focus on the details; it takes her away from the aches and pains. Along with the 5K Walk, Jane has donated original paintings for the MMRF’s Laugh for Life event for the past 3 years, which is co-chaired by her sister, Sherri Lippman.  Multiple Myeloma does not hold Jane back as she continues to live life to the fullest by traveling around the world, painting and creating art, and always finding reasons to celebrate life. Most recently Jane traveled with her husband, Larry, for two weeks through Scandinavia. Art is an escape for Jane; her painting “Rays of Hope” can be seen in the Expressions of Hope 2015 calendar created by the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Her painting, “Getting Back in the Water,” was part of the Lilly Oncology on Canvas Art competition and the exhibit traveled to hospitals, centers, and seminars. In addition to her commitments to MMRF, she and a close friend taught a class called “Healing Through Art” at a local library to help people use watercolor painting as a therapeutic outlet.

Jane’s children, Cecelia and Andrew, participated in the Nation’s Triathlon as members of the MMRF Endurance Team and collectively raised over $10,000 for the MMRF.  The MMRF Endurance Events team introduced Jane to Matt Dreyfuss, a member of the MMRF Team for Cures, through the Inspire! Program. He did not know anyone with MM, so this was a way for him to have personal connection with someone with Multiple Myeloma. He then competed in the 2014 Ironman Lake Placid Triathlon and recently competed in the 2015 Ironman in Mont Tremblant. Jane and her family have become good friends with Matt and his wife Erin, and are in awe of his athletic abilities.

Jane looks forward to the MMRF Philadelphia 5K Walk/Run every year because it motivates her to stay healthy so that she can be with all of her friends and family who have supported her over the past five years.

Jane is touched and honored to be receiving this award. She believes this is an award for all of multiple myeloma patients and their support systems, for helping keep their spirits up beat and always hoping for a cure! She tries not to stay in the doom and gloom but rather look at each day as a gift, unwrap it and enjoy it!  She celebrates every day, every event, every time she is with friends and family.  Jane enjoys all the “little” things in life that she normally would have passed by during her busy life working and raising her children.  Jane is a hard person to pin down because she has been traveling the world. In return, people in her “village” have picked up on her energy and send her positive messages that keep Jane going.  Every MM patient she knows clings to hope. Hope they get some sleep, hope they have energy to get out of bed, hope their medications are working, hope that their blood work comes back favorable, hope for a day without pain and most of all hope for a cure!  

“Jane came to a cross road a few weeks back. She had to make a decision of which treatment path to take, the fact that she had “options” was so comforting.  Her father did not have those options only ten years ago. In those ten years, seven new drugs were approved and many more treatments are on the horizon. She is fortunate to be living with this disease now, with so many new treatments on the horizon.”

Jane’s Village proudly supports the MMRF in many ways and thanks the MMRF for their tireless research to accelerate a cure.  For all of you living with this disease remember to unwrap the day, enjoy it, stay positive, stay strong!

The MMRF works tirelessly to find a cure to extend the lives of patients just like Jane Kielt, and is proud to honor her as the 2015 recipient of the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award, given at every MMRF 5K Walk/Run event to a person who inspires hope and shows extraordinary commitment to the MMRF. Jane has touched the myeloma community with her strength of character, her kindness, and her embodiment of hope.