Many physicians go the extra mile for their patients. Few go more than 2,000. But Dr. Rafat Abonour, an Indiana University myeloma researcher and IU Health physician, has done just that.
Each Fall, Dr. Abonour and his fellow Miles for Myeloma cyclists – a crew made up of myeloma researchers and medical caregivers, family members of patients and even a couple of patients themselves – set out on the annual Miles for Myeloma ride. The three-day cycling event gives myeloma patients and their loved ones the opportunity to conduct personalized fund-raising campaigns to generate awareness about the blood cancer and raise funding for IU research aimed at improving treatments for this rare disease. A dinner and education symposium for myeloma patients and their families always follows the finish-line celebration.
Miles for Myeloma began as a group of Dr. Abonour’s patients who wanted to organize a run/walk event to raise funds for multiple myeloma research at Indiana University. Rather than have his patients plan a standard participatory event, Dr. Abonour offered to cover the miles — and the state of Indiana — himself. He reasoned that as his patients travel from all parts of Indiana to visit him, he should make an effort to go to them. Since the inaugural tour in 2005, Miles for Myeloma has raised $3 million for multiple myeloma research at the IU Simon Cancer Center.