Dr. Rafat Abonour, multiple myeloma expert, receives Sagamore of the Wabash
INDIANAPOLIS -- (Feb. 19, 2010) -- Rafat Abonour, M.D., received a Sagamore of the Wabash, the highest honor an Indiana governor can bestow, during a special ceremony Feb. 19.
Dr. Abonour, an oncologist and researcher at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center and professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine, was formally recognized for his distinguished service during a reception attended by family, friends, and colleagues.
For the past five years, Dr. Abonour – an avid amateur marathon runner – has put his body to the test by running and biking on two consecutive days for Miles for Myeloma. He has run and biked more than 700 miles and raised more than $1 million since starting Miles for Myeloma. The money is used for research devoted to finding a cure for multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer.
Why does Abonour push himself physically?
While a fellow at the University of Wisconsin, he followed some myeloma patients and was struck by how they dealt with an incurable disease. “They were able to live with the fact that it’s incurable. They were so faithful to the medical field and the caregiver and giving back more than I was giving them,” he explained.
“I was rewarded by a lot of admiration and respect. Every myeloma patient I have met has been the same. They always give you back more than you give them,” he said.
It is his affection for his patients that drives him to make further inroads against the disease.
“We’re still losing patients,” he said. “It’s disheartening that we can’t cure these people. I think the mission is to find out why we can’t cure them.”
NOTE: Visit the IU Simon Cancer Center on Facebook to add your congratulations to Dr. Abonour.