Climb for a Cure Kilimanjaro 2019

We’re here because we are celebrating a 10 year anniversary of the International CML Foundation. If you’re going to
make the effort to actually bring researchers from all over the globe to
actually cure CML then you need to do something big to get people interested
and aware of what’s going on, so what can be bigger than climbing Mount
Kilimanjaro. It’s an amazing group of 26 really interesting people, all with their
own story, some with amazing stories of Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Researchers,
patients, patient advocates, physicians supporters of the foundation and they
all come together, for me it’s like representing the whole CML community.
This is how the community works together and responds together and that’s
exactly what we’ve seen on the climb. The challenge in front of us in CML is a
little bit beyond what most people think is possible, that is to actually find a
cure for patients with CML. They won’t be dependent on drugs that give them
toxicity, gives them side effects and is expensive, but they’ll have a remission
that is enduring. In my country you get aware of breast
cancer, prostate cancer and many other cancers and never a mention of CML. We
have population of 200 million, unknown cases for CML is just about 2000 and
there abouts. Most people don’t get diagnosed, they die
not knowing what actually killed them, so I’m among the few lucky ones. Andy is a
great example of the challenge that the foundation needs to meet and that is
people that first of all, can’t get diagnosed and then people that
eventually get on to it, to the effective drugs, like a Imatinib, but then get
resistance and that can’t really be identified and they can’t get access to
second-generation drugs. Somebody has to make the change so it starts with me, me
going there flying the green or white flag, day wow it’s gonna mean everything.
I’m creating awareness I think nobody has gone this far for CML in my country.
Having someone like Andy here, to me was really eye-opening. I mean I spend my
days treating people with CML day after day most of them treated successfully
and we lose sight of the fact that the whole rest of the world is not like that,
you know he doesn’t really have a doctor he has a place that he goes, and there’s
a doctor there, whoever it may be, the doctor of the day, but he has to go buy gloves to bring them to the clinic so that they can draw
his blood. You have a bigger obligation to people in other parts of the world
that don’t have what we have I like that focus of the iCMLf. The climb itself was absolutely incredible,
much much harder than I had expected even with all the preparations. I started
in the dark never really knowing exactly where you’re going and not knowing if you’re gonna make it, but that journey happens in all different kinds settings, people get
started with CML for example they don’t know where they’re going
it’s pretty dark in the beginning. Patients do this mountain climbing every
day when they have the diagnosis and I think I wanted to show my small tribute
to their daily struggle. I’m a person that could never dream or even think of going to Mount Kilimanjaro, or climbing Kilimanjaro, if I can do this, CML researchers should find a cure. The rain, the cold, the weather around it all was so unpredictable and changing constantly. There are certainly moments that I
thought about turning back but then something in your mind just says no you
have to keep going. To overcome our body limits and to do what we did that night
in the climb was really amazing something I’ll never forget in my whole
life. It’s incredible to see sort of how people
work together to get up this mountain, people are encouraging each other, you
had people calling out as we were sort of plotting up the mountain and making
sure that everybody was okay. The most amazing part was that we all
pulled ourselves together and helped each other along the way, but the sun comes out and you made it. Every single cent has been very hard worked for, step-by-step-by-step, and we really appreciate every single donation
that’s come in. Every single person here has raised their own money for the climb
so that you can be sure that the dollars that you raise, that you give us, are
going to be directly used to to get us to the point we want to be at which is
curing Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.


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