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The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is delighted to recognize John Pinciaro as the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award Honoree at the 2018 MMRF Team for Cures: Boston 5K Walk/Run. This award is presented at every 5K Walk/Run event to a patient, caregiver, or family who inspire hope through their resilience, perseverance and dedication to the MMRF and its mission.
Posted February 2018
In November 2016, John Pinciaro started experiencing lower back pain and upper abdominal pain. He visited a spine specialist who then referred him to a hematologist. In January of 2017, after several blood tests and MRIs, he received his diagnosis of multiple myeloma. The diagnosis came as a shock to John as he lived an extremely healthy lifestyle, including staying active by cycling, running, and playing basketball. John immediately began treatment at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and had his autologous stem cell transplant on May 9th. Recovery was tough, but with the support of his family and friends, he got through it. At present, John is back on maintenance therapy and has returned to work.
John and his wife, Pattie, share a beautiful and extremely rare love story as they have been together since the seventh grade. They have three wonderful and supportive daughters and two son-in-law’s, Tiffany, Alexa, Krista, Matt, and Kevin. It was their oldest daughter, Tiffany, who first discovered the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation after doing research following John’s diagnosis. John refers to the MMRF website for information about this disease and has utilized his local myeloma community by joining a support group, which has been immensely helpful to him and his family. They have even made some new friends through the MMRF’s CoMMunity Gateway and are looking forward to the webinars that keep them updated on new treatments and clinical trials.
While browsing the MMRF website, the Pinciaro family came across additional ways to get involved with the foundation and debated forming a team for the Boston 5K Walk/Run event given his recent diagnosis. They were still trying to navigate their way through treatment options and after some consideration, they decided to register and get involved.
“As the love and support poured in, we decided the walk would be a nice way to raise awareness for Multiple Myeloma, since most people have never heard of it, and to raise money that can go towards finding a much needed cure” – John Pinciaro.
John’s nickname growing up was “Pinch,” which helped establish the 5K team’s name, Pinch’s Punch Back. In their first year participating at the 5K Walk/Run event, the team initially set their fundraising goal at a modest $2,500. Not only did they exceed this goal, but they surpassed it by twenty times that amount, raising over $50,000! The team also won the Largest Team Award, with over 180 of their friends and family coming together to the walk on a chilly April morning.
John says receiving the Spirit of Hope Award is truly an honor. When he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the outpouring support and love from his family and friends was humbling. He received hundreds of cards, text messages, phone calls, drop-by visits and emails. John’s friend and priest, Father Culloty, helped keep his faith strong during this unsettling time by praying for him and consistently checking in on him.
“During an extremely difficult time, it was my friends and family who inspired hope in me. I realized that so many people were praying for me and I was more determined than ever to beat this,” said John.
John has never been one to give up a fight but admits his world was turned upside down when he found out he had a rare blood cancer. He feels very fortunate to have his family here to lift him back up; his wife, Pattie, reassures him that this is all just a bump in the road and has been by his side through every moment of his journey, his daughter Tiffany attends doctor’s appointments with him, prepared with questions to ask based on the MMRF webinars and other studies she finds; Alexa and Krista created a Facebook group for the 5K and helped to get the word out; and both of his son-in-law’s have helped him with handiwork around the house.
“I owe a huge thank you to my family. Between my sisters giving me daily shots during my stem cell transplant preparation, my brothers keeping the company running despite my absence, my parents always making me laugh when trying to FaceTime me from Florida, and my wife’s family for helping our latest “ugly sweater party” fundraiser be such a success by donating great raffles and wearing a sweater I never thought I’d see on an 89-year-old man – I’m a lucky man.” – John Pinciaro.
The MMRF works tirelessly to find a cure to extend the lives of patients and is proud to honor John Pinciaro as the 2018 recipient of the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award. John has touched the myeloma community with his strength of character, kindness, and embodiment of hope.