Chronic back pain turned into an unexpected cancer diagnosis for an Alberta man, who’s now organizing a fundraiser for myeloma research.
Scott Beer recalled going to the emergency room four times in 2019 for excruciating back pain. For months he had sought relief through physiotherapy and chiropractic treatments, but the pain persisted.
While previous diagnostic tests didn’t uncover a cause, during his fourth hospital visit, a doctor noticed his weight loss, as well as a protruding tumour on Beer’s chest.
The 54-year-old former financial worker from Calgary received a life-changing diagnosis: He has myeloma, an incurable blood cancer that 10 Canadians are diagnosed with each day.
This news challenged Beer “physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually,” Beer said in an emailed release. But a stem cell transplant in early 2020 left him in remission.
Beer now takes a chemotherapy maintenance drug to keep his blood cancer in check. He feels grateful to have “more good days than bad,” and is regaining his stamina for short hikes and camping. Besides spending time with his wife and two children, he volunteers with his son’s Scouts troop.
This spring, Beer is also organizing the first-ever myeloma fundraiser.
The Bike to Beat Myeloma ride is happening on May 15 from 9:15 a.m. from the at Spruce View Hall, with Red Deer Mayor Ken Johnston officiating and greeting participants.
Beer hopes scientific advancements will allow people with myeloma to live longer, and hopefully, one day have a cure for the disease. “My oncologist tells me, it’s not if you’ll relapse, it’s when,” he said. “Thank goodness there are growing treatment options for patients, our quality of life is better, and our life expectancy is longer.
“But we need to keep pushing on it and continue to search for a cure.”
The Myeloma Canada Ride: Bike to Beat Myeloma is being held in three Canadian locations. The Red Deer County ride is the only one in Alberta. Cyclists of varying levels can participate by choosing between a more leisurely 35 km route, or a more challenging 75 km route.
A virtual ride option is also available for those who are unable to participate, or who wish to create their own cycling challenge.
The national fundraising goal of the ride, including events in Ontario and B.C., is $100,000.
“The Red Deer County Myeloma Canada Ride promises to be a fun and fulfilling event… regardless of the option chosen. Participants will have a great time cycling along scenic routes with other enthusiasts while raising crucial funds for a great cause,” states a release from Myeloma Canada.
To register or donate, visit: www.myelomaride.ca.