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IU Simon Cancer Center doc rides 235 Miles to raise awareness for multiple myeloma

  

INDIANAPOLIS -- (Oct 4, 2010) -- An Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center doctor will soon lead a pack of bicyclists on a 235-mile journey to raise awareness of multiple myeloma.

Rafat Abonour, M.D., an oncologist and researcher at the IU Simon Cancer Center, and a group of cyclists will begin their ride at 8:15 a.m. Friday, Oct. 8, at the Cancer Center at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie.

For Dr. Abonour, this is the sixth consecutive year he has set out on his bike for Miles for Myeloma, an annual cycling tour of Indiana cities. Dr. Abonour’s Miles for Myeloma raises awareness and research funds for multiple myeloma (pronounced mahy-uh-loh-muh), an incurable blood cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, about 20,180 new cases will be diagnosed in 2010 and about 10,650 deaths are expected this year. The five-year survival rate for multiple myeloma is around 35 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

To date, Dr. Abonour has raised nearly $1.5 million for multiple myeloma research. All of the funds are used by researchers at the IU Simon Cancer Center.

Each year, Dr. Abonour takes on a grueling ride – and sometimes a bike ride coupled with a long-distance run – because he knows myeloma patients endure so much every day with their disease.

A person with myeloma, according to Dr. Abonour, is typically around 60 years old. The cancer accumulates in bone marrow, weakening the bones and causing osteoporosis, anemia and kidney failure. Myeloma also leaves people susceptible to infections because their immune system has been weakened.

 “We have to do more for people diagnosed with myeloma,” he said. “It’s so disheartening that we can’t cure these people. I think the mission is to find out why we can’t cure them – and change that.”

Finish-line celebration is Oct. 9 in downtown Indy

From Muncie, Dr. Abonour and the other cyclists – many of whom are IU School of Medicine colleagues – will head to Fort Wayne and other Indiana cities and towns before ending with a finish-line celebration at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, in front of University Place Hotel on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus. More than 300 myeloma patients and family members are expected to gather to watch the 235-mile trek end. All are welcome to attend.

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Notes to editors:

 

Miles for Myeloma 2010: Ride for Research visits Muncie, Hartford City, Fort Wayne, Logansport, Delphi, Lafayette, Lebanon, and Indianapolis.

 

Past Miles for Myeloma events were:

 

2009 Miles for Myeloma: Trek for Treatment:  207 miles by bike from Evansville to Indianapolis

 

2008 Miles for Myeloma: The Bloomington Boomerang Part II:  60-mile run from Indianapolis to Bloomington and 60-mile bike ride from Bloomington to Indianapolis

 

2007 Miles for Myeloma: The Bloomington Boomerang Part I:  60-mile run from Indianapolis to Bloomington and 60-mile bike ride from Bloomington to Indianapolis

 

2006 Miles for Myeloma: The South Bend Tour:  40-mile run from Carmel to Kokomo and a 100-mile bike ride from Kokomo to South Bend

 

2005 Miles for Myeloma: The Fort Wayne Tour:  60-mile bike ride from Carmel to Marion and a 60-mile run from Marion to Fort Wayne

 

For more, visit www.cancer.iu.edu/m4m.

 

For more on the Adult Hematology & Hematologic Malignancies Program at the IU Simon Cancer Center, visit www.cancer.iu.edu/hematology.