The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Alumna joins walk to raise awareness


A University of Iowa alumna continues to be optimistic despite living with an incurable disease.

By Anna Kayser

[email protected]

Sometimes, staying optimistic and working collectively toward a cure is all a person can do.

Amy Copeland is a University of Iowa graduate who suffers from a disease called multiple myeloma. The disease is a blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow, according to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Despite her condition, Copeland, along with more than 600 people, walked and ran to raise awareness for the disease this past weekend as part of the Eastern Iowa Miles for Myeloma at the Terry Trueblood Recreation Area in Iowa City. This year, her group comprised more than 70 people.

In late 2013, Copeland said she experienced pain in her hip but wrote it off because walking was part of her everyday exercise routine. Then one day in January 2014, she said, she woke up and couldn’t take a deep breath without excruciating pain.

The next day, she went to a physician and within two hours the doctor told her she had lytic lesions on her bones. After learning that it could be multiple myeloma, Copeland went to the UI Hospitals and Clinics for testing and treatment.

“I just can’t say enough about how much the University of Iowa Hospitals have done for me,” she said.

She went through two stem-cell transplants, in which she spent 30 days in the hospital for each. She also went through chemotherapy for two days every two weeks. She ended chemo in June.

Copeland said she and her family participate in the Miles for Myeloma each year. After her diagnosis, around 100 participants came out to support her. She describes the event as a “comaraderie” for multiple-myeloma patients and their supporters.

Her team’s colors this year were black and gold in honor of the UI. Copeland is a huge Hawkeye sports fan, and she said she watches the games whether the Hawks win or lose. The color tribute was also directed toward the hospital that helped her through her treatment.

Miles for Myeloma founder Laurie Cummins and her husband created the event in 2012 in honor of her husband’s late brother. 

“Optimism and realism are two words that Amy uses a lot,” Cummins said.

Copeland said she is very optimistic about life, even though she acknowledges that there is no cure for the disease.

“I think the walk has really opened our eyes to how many people this disease affects,” Copeland’s son, Robert, said. “Before Mom was diagnosed, I had never heard of multiple myeloma and how difficult a form of cancer it is to beat. But the team that puts this event on does a great job of raising awareness for the walk, raising money for research, and most importantly, raising the spirits of those walking alongside us who continue to share in their fight.”

Copeland’s said her father, stepfather, and father-in-law all died from cancer, her father at a fairly young age.

She said she often thinks about people who have been taken too early from cancer.

“Aging is a privilege denied to many,” she said.

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