Iowa Miles for Myeloma creates a community of survivors in Iowa City

Now in its seventh year, the Iowa Miles for Myeloma race draws participants from all across the U.S to Iowa City.

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Iowa Miles for Myeloma creates a community of survivors in Iowa City

Participants fend off the rain during the 2019 Iowa Miles for Myeloma Run/Walk at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area on Sunday, September 22, 2019.

Participants fend off the rain during the 2019 Iowa Miles for Myeloma Run/Walk at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area on Sunday, September 22, 2019.

Jenna Galligan

Participants fend off the rain during the 2019 Iowa Miles for Myeloma Run/Walk at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area on Sunday, September 22, 2019.

Jenna Galligan

Jenna Galligan

Participants fend off the rain during the 2019 Iowa Miles for Myeloma Run/Walk at Terry Trueblood Recreation Area on Sunday, September 22, 2019.

Rylee Wilson, News Reporter

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The dreary weather at Terry Trueblood Recreation Center did not keep participants away from the seventh annual Iowa Miles for Myeloma Run/Walk on Sunday. With kids and pets in tow, they completed the two-mile trek around Terry Trueblood Lake to raise money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. 

Miles for Myeloma has raised $150,000 for the foundation, said Kara DeBaene, an events coordinator for the organization. 

Approximately 32,000 people will be diagnosed with myeloma in the U.S. in 2019, according to the American Cancer Society. Myeloma is a cancer of the plasma in the blood and bone marrow. 

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DeBaene said funding for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation is critical in improving patients’ survival rates.

“Before the [organization] was founded, the average lifespan of a patient was anywhere between three and five years,” she said. “In the last 10 years we’ve launched 11 new drugs and clinical trials, which has more than tripled the lifespan of patients.”

Iowa City couple Dan and Laurie Cummins founded the race in 2012 to honor friends and family members affected by multiple myeloma. Last year, the pair looked to hand the rally off to a new chair. 

Now chairing the race for a second year, Annie Blaser said she was excited for the event, which her parents and family members all attended. Her mother, Mary Blaser, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2012. 

“It’s a cause that I’m very passionate about and wanted to get involved to do something to help. There’s a lot of work being done with the [foundation], which is where all of our money is sent that we fundraise,” she said. “They’re really doing an amazing job getting help to patients and families so that people can live a longer life with these treatments and drugs.”

This year’s race raised nearly $20,000 in pre-registration fees, and an additional amount in registration totals from the event which have yet to be counted. Annie Blaser said this year’s goal is to raise a total of $25,000 with same day registration and revenue from the silent auction. 

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The race draws participants from all across Iowa and the U.S. Mary Blaser volunteers at the run as well and said meeting the participants is one of the best parts of the day. 

“I met people from Oregon and Colorado that came out to support a family member, and last year I remember there were people from eight or nine different states,” she said. “So, it’s just overwhelming to know that somebody’s coming out today to support this cause.”

The event draws in both new participants and enthusiastic returners each year, with a total of 13 returning and nine new teams registered, Annie Blaser said. She added that many participants became involved when the race was first introduced to Iowa City seven years ago.

Annie Blaser said finding a community is one of the biggest attractors for the event. 

“It’s just a good time for people to come out and connect and meet one another, talk about their experiences and feel support — and then raise funds for a cure,” she said. 

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