Yolande credits her husband, Bill, and life-saving drug therapies for her good fortunes.
North Vancouver resident riding to beat myeloma at second Annual Richmond Myeloma Canada Ride
Published 11:20 PDT, Wed May 17, 2023
North Vancouver resident Yolande Paine knows how life can turn upside down in an instant. On Wednesday, June 20, 2012, just minutes before boarding a flight to her hometown of Montréal, Yolande received a life-changing phone call from her doctor: she needed to schedule a bone biopsy to check abnormalities found in her blood work.
Yolande would soon be diagnosed with smouldering multiple myeloma (SMM), a precursor to active multiple myeloma, a little-known and as of yet, incurable blood cancer that 11 Canadians are diagnosed with every day. Yolande was just 58 years old.
Prior to her diagnosis, Yolande recalls feeling "off" for months. Despite her doctor's best efforts to reassure her that she was healthy, Yolande sensed something was seriously wrong. She decided to investigate further and consult a specialist. After a series of tests, Yolande's suspicions were unfortunately confirmed and she received her life-changing diagnosis.
"I'm very in tune with my body," says Yolande. "And because of this, I pushed hard for an answer and advocated for myself. I am extremely lucky to have caught the disease early. I didn't endure nearly as much pain and suffering as others," Yolande adds.
For the next four years, Yolande was closely monitored for any changes in her blood work. Then, in February of 2016, her greatest fear came true. Test results revealed that her SMM was now indeed active multiple myeloma (also known as myeloma).
"I had so many questions, but I didn't have anyone to turn to," says Yolande. "There were no resources in my community. I vowed that when I got stronger, I would use my experience to help others."
True to her word, Yolande joined and became active in the Vancouver Myeloma Support Group where, along with other members, she helps provide a safe and supportive space for those whose lives have been impacted by this devastating cancer.
In September 2016, Yolande underwent extensive chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, and was doing well. Unfortunately, she experienced a relapsed in 2019. Today, Yolande is receiving maintenance treatment to keep the cancer at bay. "It's been a long and difficult journey, but I'm so thankful to be alive and to have had access to different drugs, drugs that wouldn't have been available just a few years ago," Yolande shares.
Today, at the age of 69, Yolande, ever the optimist, is ecstatic to be in remission. She credits her good fortune not only to the life-saving drug therapies she has access to, but also to the love and support of her husband of 40 years, Bill. In their leisure time, the couple enjoys trail hiking, cross-country skiing, and playing with their beloved Labradoodle, Cooper. They are also passionate about the upcoming Richmond Myeloma Canada Ride: Bike to Beat Myeloma, a fundraising event that Bill has been instrumental in organizing.
"I know that I will eventually relapse, but I am confident that there will be treatment options available to me when that time comes," states Yolande. "It's very scary living with an incurable cancer," she continues. "I would be lying if I said I wasn't fearful of the future, but there are many amazing new treatments in the pipeline that give me a lot of hope."
Grateful for the medical treatments that have given her a second lease on life, Yolande is gearing up to cycle in the 2nd Annual Richmond Myeloma Canada Ride: Bike to Beat Myeloma. The Ride takes place May 28, 2023 at Homma Elementary School, at 8:30 a.m., and helps to raise myeloma awareness and critical funds for a cure.
"For countless Canadians, the diagnosis of myeloma is often long and difficult, often taking months, even years," says Martine Elias, executive director of Myeloma Canada. "Events like the Richmond Myeloma Canada Ride are key for raising both, awareness for the disease and critical funds that enable us to keep investing in life-saving research so that a cure may be found. We need to do all that we can to stop this complicated disease from cutting short the lives of those we love."
About Myeloma Canada's national Myeloma Canada Ride: Bike to Beat Myeloma
The Myeloma Canada Ride will take place in seven Canadian locations this spring: Halifax (N.S.), Niagara Region (ON.), Red Deer County (A.B.), Sudbury (ON.), St. John's (NFLD), Richmond (B.C.), and Vankleek Hill (ON.). A Virtual option is also available for those who are unable to participate at one of the in-person events, or who wish to create their own cycling challenge. The collective national fundraising goal of the Ride has been set at $300,000.
The Richmond Myeloma Canada Ride promises to be a fun and fulfilling event for cyclists of varying levels, with a shorter, more leisurely 30–40 km route, and a more challenging 70+ km route. To register or donate, visit: myelomaride.ca
Funds raised through The Myeloma Canada Ride are invested in curing and preventing myeloma through investment in Canadian research, best care by accelerating equitable access to the best healthcare and treatments, improving lives by empowering and supporting all Canadians impacted by myeloma.
Multiple myeloma, also known as myeloma, is the second most common form of blood cancer. Myeloma affects a type of immune cell called the plasma cell, found in the bone marrow. While there is currently no cure, people with myeloma are living longer and better lives, thanks to recent breakthroughs in treatment. To find a cure, more funding and research are required.
About Myeloma Canada
Myeloma Canada is the only national charitable organization created by, and for, Canadians impacted by multiple myeloma. The organization is driven to improve the lives of those affected by myeloma by empowering the community through awareness, education, and advocacy programs, and supporting research to find a cure. Since its founding in 2005, Myeloma Canada has been making myeloma matter.
To learn more, or to donate, please visit myeloma.ca.