Mount Everest Base Camp Climb2018

Kirk Wilkerson

Age: 48
Hometown: Bostic, NC

May 4, 2016 is a day that changed my life. That is the day I walked into Levine Cancer Institute in Charlotte, NC and was diagnosed with smoldering multiple myeloma (SMM). I had no symptoms. My SMM was discovered in a life insurance exam. I had run several half marathons and was training for a marathon. Rather than getting preferred rates like I expected, I was now uninsurable. I have four kids and a wife who all depend on me. From that day forward, life will forever take on new meaning. A new perspective.

Perspective is everything. Not taking for granted days like before SMM is a key part of life now. As a successful patient in a clinical trial, I can see firsthand how important research is in striving toward a cure. Dramatic advances are being made! However, there is still work to do. From a dear friend who lost his life last year to multiple myeloma, to the success of my own journey, it is important that we continue to gain ground on this dreaded disease. I am climbing Mount Everest because I can! When I got my diagnosis, my wife and I made a plan for living. To be able to be a part of not only this bucket list journey to Nepal, but also to be a part of the solution with an organization like the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (who helps fund my own treatments!), is an honor and a life's calling.

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