Name: Michele Maharaj
Hometown: Fernandina Beach, Florida
Reason for Climbing: When a Mayo patient and good friend, Bob, asked me to take a hike for Multiple Myeloma and for the MMRF...there was little hesitation in saying yes! Bob started his own MM endurance hike in 2009. He has been an ongoing contributor to MM research both clinically and financially since his diagnosis. He continues to spend time researching what is next in line for him when the need for a treatment change presents itself. He is one of many MM patients that look to the MMRF research programs for treatment while praying daily for a cure for all. I admire and support this empowerment of his. My Conquer the Canyon hiking partner is my husband, Vishnu. One week after agreeing to MM4MM , Vishnu's brother was diagnosed with MM. He has learned more than he ever wanted to know about MM over the past 4 months and how important advocacy for a MM patient truly is. This endurance hike is now symbolic for us so many different levels.
My Story: (What is your connection to multiple myeloma? What would you like us to know about you?) I have been an oncology nurse for 30 years and have been witness to powerful cancer victories and as many or more cancer defeats. The privilege to work with incredible physicians, nurses, mentors, patients and their advocates has been a humbling and heart warming experience. For the past 9 years I have been in the role of Research Nurse for the Hematology Clinical Trials Group at Mayo Clinic Florida. An important part of my role at Mayo includes that of a Multiple Myeloma Program Manager for the MMRF. To witness the progress being made in cancer research that is expanding treatment options for MM patients and improving their quality of life for longer periods of time is indeed exciting. I am tasked with assisting patients and their families through the treatment pipelines and the navigation of clinical trial processes. The course of life for a patient with multiple myeloma is the true "Endurance Hike"! My husband and I are excited to Conquer the Canyon and to obtain our fund raising goal for MM research. We are overwhelmed by the generosity of friends and family for their recent contributions to support MM research through this MM4MM process.