For some people it would be a death sentence, but that’s not how Bob Dickey sees it.
“If I had the choice between how my life has gone since the diagnosis and where my life would have been … I’d take today,” he said.
Dickey has a rare form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma, which develops in plasma cells. Though doctors say his time is limited — or maybe because of that prognosis — Dickey is determined to get out of his comfort zone. And for him, that means climbing the tallest free-standing mountain in the world: Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
He’s part of a team called Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma. Together, multiple myeloma patients, supporters, doctors and caregivers climb some of the world’s most difficult mountains to show how recent advancements in treatment are helping patients live longer and with a higher quality of life than ever before.
“Every single step you make is an opportunity to beat this disease,” said Marty Murphy, team member and director of patient education at Cure magazine. “This climb is about hope. You still can live. You can take today, and you can climb whatever that mountain is for you. It doesn’t have to be Kilimanjaro.”
The Moving Mountains team for the Kilimanjaro excursion included four patients, 11 team members and an 83-person support team. They brought along two videographers from Uncage the Soul Video Production to make a documentary of the climb, also called “Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma.”
The trek was difficult, but the team supported one another to the summit. As Bob Dickey and his fellow patients know all too well, living with a cancer diagnosis can be a mountainous task all on its own sometimes, but their experiences are proof that it can be done.
“Your life does not end with a diagnosis of multiple myeloma,” Dickey said. “And maybe your Kilimanjaro today is going to your post office box and getting your mail. But maybe next year your Kilimanjaro is something different. So where’s your Kilimanjaro?”
OPB is pleased to present “Moving Mountains For Multiple Myeloma” as part of the 2016 Oregon Lens Film Festival, which showcases some of the best independent films in the Pacific Northwest.