Name: Terry White
Hometown: Juneau, AK
Reason for climbing: I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in the spring of 2009. Hip pain took me to the doctor and an MRI revealed that I had a tumor the size of a grapefruit on the right iliac crest of my pelvic bone. The diagnosis was a single plasmacytoma. It was not yet diagnosed as multiple myeloma because there was only one tumor, but the doctor told me that I was likely to develop MM in the future. Prior to this, I had no idea what Plasmacytomas or Multiple Myeloma was. I went home and began researching on the internet. After reading a couple of articles, I freaked out, shut the computer down, sat in my chair and stared at the wall. Now I call this the “dark days after diagnosis”.
I was treated with radiation in Seattle for 5 weeks and went back to home to Juneau, Alaska to join my family and resume my life. In Dec '09, I discovered another tumor on my L4 rib and I joined the Multiple Myeloma club. I went back to Seattle and again did radiation and began induction therapy.
That was a little over seven years ago! My support system has been amazing! From my wife, who always encouraged me to get back on my horse and keep moving forward, to my two sons and my family and friends, I’ve received incredible support. I’ve been fortunate to have the support of my employer, Alaska Airlines. In the 31 years that I’ve been with them, I’ve witnessed their compassion for their employees time and time again.
Many years ago, one of my dear friends and a fellow MM patient told me two important things, "knowledge is power" and "don't borrow tomorrow’s troubles today". This has become advice that I try to live by every day. The days have turned into weeks and the weeks into months and the months into years! Getting involved with support groups and researching my disease has helped me keep things in perspective and move forward with living.
In the summer of 2009, after 5 weeks of radiation in Seattle and with the approval of my oncologist, I climbed and summated Colorado’s Mt Democrat (14,155ft.). I went back to work at Alaska Airlines and resumed my charter business, Juneau Adventures, a fishing/whale watching sightseeing business in Juneau, Alaska during the summer months.
I attended my first MMRF seminar in Seattle early this year. What an amazing experience! A reply to an email from Kelly at MMRF landed me on the 2017 Mt Kilimanjaro Trek Team. Climbing Mt. Democrat after my first round of radiation became one of the major milestones in this journey. I believe that this climb will be another milestone - one that gives me the opportunity to do something proactive to help cure the disease that I fight on a personal level every day. This is an amazing opportunity to raise money for research and bring more awareness to this rare incurable cancer. My goal is to raise $10,000 which all will go to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
Please join with me and support the MMRF cause as we climb towards a CURE!