IU Simon Cancer Center oncologist runs, bikes 120 miles Nov. 1-2 to raise funds for multiple myeloma


INDIANAPOLIS -- (Oct. 10, 2008) – Rafat Abonour -- an oncologist and researcher with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center -- jokingly says he’s going to run from Indianapolis to Bloomington because of the high cost of gas.

In all seriousness, though, he’s running 60 miles to raise awareness and funds for research devoted to finding a cure for multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer.

Miles for Myeloma: the Bloomington Boomerang, Part II 

Midnight Nov. 1:
Abonour departs IUSCC for Bloomington by foot. 

Well-wishers are invited to the send-off.

Noon Nov. 1:
Abonour arrives in IU Memorial Stadium.

8 a.m. Nov. 2:
Abonour leaves Memorial Stadium, cycles to Indy.

1:30 p.m. Nov. 2:
Abonour arrives at IUSCC; finish-line celebration begins.

All are invited to welcome back Abonour.

For the past three years, Dr. Abonour has put his body to the test by running and biking in various parts of Indiana for Miles for Myeloma.

He’ll repeat his trek from last year. This year’s Miles for Myeloma, dubbed the Bloomington Boomerang: Part II, begins at midnight Oct. 31 when Abonour starts running from the IU Simon Cancer Center in downtown Indianapolis to Bloomington. Twelve hours later, he’ll finish the running leg of Miles for Myeloma by going through a human tunnel formed by patients, their families and friends, and others during pre-game festivities at the home football game at Indiana University Memorial Stadium. 

More than 500 people participated in the human tunnel last year. 

“It was really amazing,” Abonour said of his experience inside the stadium last year. “It was really touching to see that many people out there supporting the cause. I got amazing energy from the people.”   

On Nov. 2, he’ll return to Indianapolis, biking a different route until he reaches the IU Simon Cancer Center.

Overall, this year’s event will take him about 120 miles by foot and bike, and he hopes to become the “million-dollar doc” by raising a cumulative $1 million. Thus far, he has raised $670,500 in the previous events. All of the funds are used by researchers at the IU

Simon Cancer Center.

A person with myeloma, according to Abonour, is typically in their 60s. The cancer, which Abonour said will strike about 19,000 people this year, 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. 

“It is still frustrating that we cannot cure this disease,” Abonour said. “We can prolong a patient’s life, but we can’t get rid of multiple myeloma. It’s frustrating, but I’m hopeful. We have good leads, and we have great drugs that we’re using right now. So, hopefully, we can put them together in a way that will cure the disease.”

For more information about Miles for Myeloma, visit http://www.cancer.iu.edu/m4m/index.shtml.