South Florida 5K Walk/Run
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is delighted to recognize Lori Alf as the MMRF Spirit of Hope Honoree at the 2017 MMRF Team for Cures: South Florida 5K Walk/Run.
Posted January 2017
Lori has been involved with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation since she was first diagnosed in 2009. The MMRF was the first place Lori and her husband turned to after her diagnosis and they were responsible for putting Lori in contact with the very best myeloma physicians.
Lori is a wife, mother of three, board member of the National Air Cargo and Regenacy Pharmaceutical and owns Palm Beach Ice Works. During her five years of treatment, she withstood multiple rounds of chemotherapy, blood transfusions and a stem cell transplant. This was all just to keep her multiple myeloma under control. She braved long, hard hospital stays that amounted to weeks and months away from home. After some time, ultimately Lori’s disease became refractory meaning she was no longer responding to her medications.
Lori was the very first volunteer for a clinical trial using immunotherapy to fight multiple myeloma. Immunotherapy boosts the body’s natural defenses stimulating an immune response. The highly experimental trial was run by Carl H. June, M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. June transformed Lori’s immune system into a cancer fighter.
“I know I wouldn’t be alive if I had not had such a dedicated team of oncologists from multiple cancer centers that refused to give up and worked together to coordinate my care. Now, I’m making it my life’s mission to help further research efforts in multiple myeloma, especially in the area of immunotherapy.”
The risk Lori and her family took was enormous. Immunotherapy hadn’t even been tested on animals. This treatment was for seriously ill multiple myeloma patients. Lori is doing well and is still in complete remission after her CAR T-cell therapy at UPenn in 2014. She is on periodic maintenance with Darzalex and is seen by Dr. Ed Stadtmauer and Dr. Al Garall at University of Pennsylvania. .
She learned about the inaugural MMRF Team for Cures: South Florida 5K Walk/Run during her annual meeting with MMRF in Boca Raton, FL. It was then that Lori got excited to bring her children and friends to the event and provide a voice for the medical breakthroughs in myeloma that desperately need more funding to accelerate progress.
“The award is such an honor for me. When faced with one of the poorest diagnosis and one of the strongest myeloma cells my doctor has ever seen, it was my dream to progress the science of the disease as much as it was to survive. I had always wanted to see the immune system explored as a potential cure for my disease and other forms of cancer. I have achieved both my dreams thus far and only work now to give this gift to others. Expanding clinical trials and our knowledge of how the immune system can conquer this cancer is only within arm’s reach if proper funding and collaboration of data exists. I stay committed to defeating this beast in my life time.”
The MMRF works tirelessly to find a cure to extend the lives of patients and is proud to honor Lori Alf as the 2017 recipient of the MMRF Spirit of Hope Award. This award is given at every MMRF 5K Walk/Run event to a person who inspires hope and shows extraordinary commitment to the MMRF. Lori has touched the myeloma community with her strength of character, her kindness, and her embodiment of hope.