Many adjectives could describe Maryse Bouchard and Francine Ducas, founders of the Cyclo-myeloma Challenge. Ordinary is not one of them. These two fighters defied the odds when they were diagnosed with multiple myeloma nearly 15 years ago, and made it their mission to dedicate themselves to this cause: a little-known and incurable blood cancer.
Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer. Every day, 10 Canadians are diagnosed with the disease.
“When I was diagnosed in 2008, I was given two years to live. Today, patients have many more treatment options that extend their quality and length of life,” says Maryse. The two co-founders add that they are grateful for clinical research, which today not only improves treatments for multiple myeloma patients, but also provides access to innovative treatments.
“In 2012, Maryse and I were having a relatively good time,” recalls Francine. “We had a shared desire to raise aware- ness of myeloma to make a difference. We wanted to continue to challenge this terrible disease for ourselves and for everyone else with myeloma. That’s why we decided to create a bike-a-thon to raise awareness about myeloma and funds for research.”
“The Cyclo-myeloma Challenge is the challenge of cycling in spite of cancer, the challenge of raising awareness of this cancer and the challenge of raising funds,” adds Maryse.
Today, thanks to their boundless energy and their fighting spirit, the two friends will celebrate the 10th edition of the Cyclo-myeloma Challenge in the company of a hundred cyclists and volunteers. The event consists of a cycling course in the Brome-Missisquoi region.
Currently, more than $56,000 has already been raised to reach the annual goal of $100,000. Over the past 10 years, the Cyclo-myeloma Challenge has already succeeded in raising $600,000, which has been donated to the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Chair.
The Cyclo-myeloma Challenge will be held on May 28, 2022 starting at 9:00 a.m. at Eurospa in Saint-Ignace-de-Stanbridge. Participants will have the choice between a 46 km or 80 km course. The routes will cross the cities of Mistic, Saint-Ignace-de-Stanbridge, Bedford, Pike River, Saint-Armand, Sainte-Sabine and Farnham.
For more information about the 2022 CycloMyeloma Challenge, visit: cyclomyelome.org.