September 12, 2021 – This morning started a bit tough. I woke up sluggish, with every bone in my body aching. Nagib brought me 2 Tylenols and got me out of bed. It was the Princess Margaret’s Weekend to Conquer Cancer day! And so off we drove to downtown to participate in the Walk. We met volunteers and kindred spirits – all with the singular goal to conquer cancer in our lifetime.
Because of COVID, the Walk took on a different flavour. Instead of a formal walk with thousands of people walking together on an established route, Nagib and I took the time to walk and explore the vibrant Queen Street West neighbourhood, with its eclectic stores, independent restaurants and high fashion. We then stumbled into the Village by the Grange park, a surprisingly roomy park nestled behind the Art Gallery and boasting spectacular views of the city. We loved seeing kids take over the playground, families enjoying picnicking and happy dogs taking their owners for a walk! On our way back to the Princess Margaret, our feet then took us to Baldwin Street, a funky street known for its restaurants. We ended up at Koh Lipe, a colorful Thai restaurant that served a delectable green curry chicken and the most authentic sticky mango rice ever. Yumm!
Nagib and I talked about our why for walking every year. We do it to give back and to raise awareness for the life-saving cancer research that is happening right here at the Princess Margaret. I am seeing personally how research can yield new treatments and prolong life. Like many others, I am living with an incurable cancer, multiple myeloma. Over the past 10 years or so, there have been tremendous advances in the treatment of myeloma, and overall progression-free survival has doubled due to the introduction of new therapies. I have had two stem-cell transplants, which is the maximum number of transplants allowed (except under highly exceptional circumstances). Sometimes, I wonder what will happen when the myeloma makes a comeback, likely in the next two years. There will be no more stem cell transplants to rely on. I will likely be put on an immunomodulatory drug, a monoclonal antibody and the infamous dexamethasone, with severe side-effects. Two friends of mine are currently on a promising new treatment for myeloma called Bite (bispecific T cell engager) which helps the body’s immune system target cancer cells. This is currently in phase 1 of research, and made possible because of your generous donations.
Today was the perfect day to give gratitude for life, to say a prayer for those who have lost their battle with cancer, and to stumble upon unexpected delights like parks in the middle of the city, cool neighbourhoods, and sticky mango rice that defies description.
Thank you to everyone for your generous support today and over the years. We truly appreciate it and pray that you may be rewarded for your generosity many times over. If you have not yet contributed and would like to do so, please click here: https://supportthepmcf.ca/theweekend/munira.
I also invite you to watch a short video I recorded for the launch of the Walk this morning: