Miles for Myeloma 2014: Celebrating a Decade of Determination
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Miles for Myeloma, the cycling crew will ride for three days. On Oct. 3, they will ride from Indianapolis to Spencer, and on Oct. 4, they will pedal on to Terre Haute. On Oct. 5, the cyclists will push toward Indianapolis, arriving for a finish-line celebration just before the start of the annual dinner and educational symposium for myeloma patients and families hosted by IU. This year’s finish-line celebration and dinner will be at the Scottish Rite Cathedral in downtown Indianapolis.
Miles for Myeloma 2013
The ninth annual Miles for Myeloma was Sept. 27-28. The cyclists began in Niles, Mich., and traveled to South Bend. From there, the route took the cyclists through LaPorte to Monticello, covering more than 104 miles the first day. The ride continued the next day and ended in Indianapolis just before the start of IU’s annual dinner and educational symposium for myeloma patients and their families.
The eighth annual Miles for Myeloma took place on September 28-29. The cyclists started in Cincinnati and rode about 119 miles the first day, stopping in Nashville, Ind., for the night. The next day, the ride ended in Indianapolis just before the start of IU’s annual dinner and educational symposium for myeloma patients and their families. Miles for Myeloma generated $313,000 in 2012, bringing the eight-year total to more than $2 million.
With the mission of funding research that leads to more tomorrows for myeloma patients, Dr. Abonour climbed aboard his bicycle on Friday, Oct. 21 and rode nearly 200 miles in two days, traveling from Louisville, Ky., to Richmond, Ind., on Day 1 of the ride and from Richmond to Indianapolis on Day 2. Our 2011 fund-raising total exceeded $242,000, bringing our overall total to more than $1.75 million.
The sixth annual Miles for Myeloma took Dr. Abonour and his fellow cyclists from Muncie to Fort Wayne to Rochester via Logansport, and through Lafayette and back down to Indianapolis, covering 234 miles and raising $275,000. The cyclists were met by nearly 400 supporters at the finish line on Michigan Street on the IUPUI campus, where the annual dinner for myeloma patients was held immediately following the celebration. During the dinner, the group heard from 35-year-old myeloma patient Kevin Hunt, who climbed Mt. Rainier in July 2010 in an effort he dubbed “Mountains for Myeloma” that raised more than $10,000 for the cause.
The fifth annual Miles for Myeloma was an uplifting trek for Dr. Abonour and his fellow riders. The group began a grueling ride from Evansville to Indianapolis, covering 200 miles and climbing 9,000 feet in just 48 hours. As they climbed each hill, Dr. Abonour gained inspiration from his patients and their families. He was able to finish the last 80 miles into Indianapolis with one of his myeloma patients by his side to a wonderful finish-line celebration with more than 350 friends, family and patients greeting him on the IUPUI campus. Immediately following, the group was treated to an inspirational speech from former Indianapolis Colts defensive player Elijah Alexander. Despite the tough economic climate, Miles for Myeloma raised an astounding $239,000, bringing the cumulative total to just more than $1.2 million.
Due to the popularity of the football game event in 2007, Miles for Myeloma returned to Bloomington once again. The highlight of this year’s midnight kickoff was more than 100 luminary bags, each bearing the name of an individual lost to multiple myeloma. These luminaries lit the path of the runners as they departed the IU Simon Cancer Center. Nearly 500 supporters gathered in Bloomington to welcome the runners to the football field and enjoyed a tailgate party during the game. On Sunday, about 50 cyclists trekked through the hills back to Indianapolis and finished at the IU Simon Cancer Center with a celebration, marking the event that raised $330,000. In just four years, this grass-roots event raised more than $1 million!
Starting at midnight on a Friday night, Dr. Abonour ran from Indianapolis to Bloomington — an astonishing 60 miles — and finished on the football field at IU Bloomington just before the kick-off of a football game. More than 250 patients and their family members formed a human tunnel to welcome Dr. Abonour onto the field. The following day, Abonour cycled back to Indianapolis to a finish-line celebration at the IU Simon Cancer Center. In 2007, a total of $300,000 was raised.
In its second year, Miles for Myeloma built upon its previous success. Dr. Abonour ran from IU Medical Group’s Spring Mill Medical Center in Carmel to Kokomo and then cycled from Kokomo to South Bend, finishing at South Bend Memorial Hospital. A highlight of the event was that one of Dr. Abonour’s patients, despite being more than 65 years old and suffering from poor kidney function, completed the entire cycling leg alongside Gina Kramer, R.N., myeloma program nurse coordinator. In 2006, Miles for Myeloma raised $240,500.
Read Dr. Abonour’s thank-you letter from 2006.
Miles for Myeloma began as a group of Dr. Abonour’s patients who wanted to organize a run/walk event to raise funds for multiple myeloma research at Indiana University. Rather than have his patients plan a standard participatory event, Dr. Abonour offered to cover the miles — and the state of Indiana — himself. He reasoned that as his patients travel from all parts of Indiana to visit him, he should make an effort to go to them. In two days, he cycled from Carmel to Marion and then ran from Marion to Fort Wayne. The weather was unseasonably hot, and Dr. Abonour was actually hospitalized briefly in Huntington, but he stubbornly insisted on completing his mission. In its first year, Miles for Myeloma far surpassed its goal of $25,000, raising $130,000. For his efforts, Dr. Abonour was recognized in Sports Illustrated.
Read Dr. Abonour’s thank-you letter from 2005.