The Rockwall County Commissioners Court proclaimed the month of March as Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month for the county during its regular meeting on Tuesday.
Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer of the bone marrow affecting more than 100,000 people across the country, forms through an uncontrollable growth of plasma cells located in the bone marrow. The growth can lead to multiple health problems, including anemia, infections, bone lesions, vertebral compressions, osteoporosis, severe pain and kidney dysfunction.
An estimated 20,000 new cases of Multiple Myeloma are diagnosed each year throughout the U.S.
Darla Kubik, an active member of the North Texas Multiple Myeloma Support Group, contacted Mayor David Sweet requesting March 2014 be recognized as Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month for the city as well, after losing her husband Michael to the disease in May 2013.
Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma on Valentine’s Day 2011, Michael underwent chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and radiation therapy for two years before he died.
In an email to Mayor Sweet, Kubik explains that through the support group she has met many Dallas-area residents battling the disease who never knew of its existence until they contracted it.
“I haven’t met one person who had heard of myeloma prior to their diagnosis,” Kubik said. “This is the primary reason for us to build awareness of the disease, as early detection will help people live longer through many treatment options, including chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplantation and novel and emerging therapies.”
Kubik said that for a city of about 40,000 people like Rockwall, around 15 people are currently affected by myeloma and three are diagnosed with the disease each year.
The North Texas Multiple Myeloma Group helps bring together myeloma patients and their caregivers and family members to talk through treatments and outcomes. The group holds meetings on the second Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center in Dallas.
Multiple myeloma is currently the second most common blood cancer in the world, and is labeled “multiple” due to the cancer’s ability to affect multiple sites.
While there currently is no cure, a lot of progress has been made through volunteer efforts to help fund research for the disease.
The proclamation encourages all Rockwall residents to participate in voluntary programs to help support myeloma education and fund research efforts to find a cure.
Sweet will officially proclaim the March as Multiple Myeloma Awareness Month for the city on March 3.
-By AUSTIN WELLS | Herald-Banner Staff