Twin Cities 5K Walk/Run
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is delighted to recognize Robert (Bob) Douglass as the MMRF Spirit of Hope Honoree at the 2015 MMRF Team for Cures Twin Cities 5K Walk/Run.
Posted September 2015
Bob’s daughter discovered the MMRF Chicago 5k Walk/Run online in 2010 while Bob was having spinal surgery as a result of his recent multiple myeloma diagnosis. A small family group walked in his honor that year. In 2011, his family discovered there was also an event in the Twin Cities and his son’s family walked in Bob’s honor that year, as well. In 2012, Bob was able to participate in the race events and decided to attend the Chicago and Twin cities events, which happened to take place back to back in one weekend! Since then, Bob and his family have fielded teams in both cities with last year being their biggest team yet consisting of 55 combined members. Unfortunately, Bob was unable to attend the Twin Cities race last year due to a relapse and impending stem cell transplant but he is back for this year’s event! During the duration of their participation, team “Bob’s Your Uncle” has raised over $28,000 for the MMRF thanks to the support and dedication of so many of Bob’s family and friends.
The team name “Bob’s Your Uncle” is special to Bob for two reasons. The first being that it was chosen by Bob’s daughter, Elizabeth and his niece, Heather. The second is the meaning behind the phrase. The team name derives from a British phrase meaning, “it’s okay.” Bob and his team have their own tradition of wearing team shirts which say, “When the going gets tough, the tough call Bob.” They also try to remember to greet each other with the phrase “it’s okay” as a reminder of their team’s name and their approach to the challenges Bob has faced in his battle with multiple myeloma.
A hope grounded in his faith in God has always been a part of Bob’s life and that of his family. This has carried him through a number of family, business, and life challenges. Coincidentally, Bob graduated from Hope College in Michigan! This is the same hope that has sustained him through the many challenges he has faced since being diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2010.
Bob had his first stem cell transplant in February 2011 which succeeded in bringing about a complete remission. Unfortunately, the day before his release he contracted a virus which resulted in a 6 week stay in the ICU, 5 of which he was in a drug-induced coma with little chance of survival. When he came out of the coma he discovered, among other things, that peripheral neuropathy from his knees to his toes in both legs had robbed him of his balance. He was unable to stand or walk on his own. After one month of intense patient therapy at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago followed by several months of daily physical therapy, Bob was finally able to walk with the aid of leg braces by November 2011. During that time, his hope was to be able to climb up and down the 50 steps that led from his summer home to the beach in Michigan, something that he had done since he was a young man. He is happy to say that he achieved that goal before summer’s end!
In addition to the excellent medical care he received, Bob is keenly aware that it was the hope of his wife Terri and his family, as well as many others, known and unknown to him, whose prayers saved his life and gave him the hope to keep pushing forward, according to their mantra, one day at a time. In 2013, Bob was diagnosed with another rare form of cancer that resulted in the removal of his tailbone for which he is in complete remission. In 2014, the multiple myeloma returned and the year was filled with chemotherapy and radiation treatments, which finally led to a stem cell transplant, a monthly infusion of cytosin, and a weekly regimen of pomalyst. Hope and the dedication of his wife, Terri, have seen him through all of these difficult times.
As a result, Bob and Terri have worked hard for the MMRF because they are very impressed with the goals, approach, and stewardship of the organization for finding a cure. Bob has fielded teams in both Chicago and the Twin Cities races every year since his diagnosis and has personally been a part of each walk/run in some way. It is his hope that a cure will be found soon so that multiple myeloma, if not eradicated in his lifetime, becomes a chronic, manageable disease for all who are affected.