For the fifth year since her mother died, Trinity City Church member Laurel Reed will participate in the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Team for Cures 5k Walk/Run in St. Paul.
Laurel’s mother, Ardy Germann, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008. Multiple myeloma is a cancer that forms in plasma cells, a type of white blood cell, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Multiple Myeloma causes cancer cells to build up in the bone marrow and leaves the body unable to fight infections.
There is no cure.
“It’s not curable, just treatable,” Laurel said. “You can do chemotherapy, or my mom had a stem cell transplant that they can try to give you more time, but it’s kind of like maintenance.”
When Germann was diagnosed, Laurel was a freshman in college. In 2011, Reed moved to Minnesota to help her father take care of her mother.
“One of the medications she was on to fight a fungal infection … one of the side effects caused her to lose her vision, so she was legally blind from that,” Laurel said. “That took away a lot of her independence.”
Laurel and her family also began to attend Trinity City Church in 2011, thanks to her mother’s research.
“My mom was actually the one who found the church online and told my husband, Jack, to go there,” Laurel said. “She was really into finding churches for people and helping them look. She was always up for doing research for people.”
In 2013, Germann died due to multiple myeloma.
“She still had a lot of really good quality of life,” Laurel said. “In those five years of life, she saw all her kids get married and was able to live with it for as long as she did, which was a huge gift and blessing to our family.”
The next year, Laurel and her family did the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Team for Cures 5k Walk/Run for the first time. The 5k wraps around Lake Phalen in St. Paul.
“We did it the first year after she died,” Laurel said. “My family does it as a way to honor her and raise awareness. The first year, we had six people on our team and last year, we had over 50. It’s grown as a fun thing to do in her honor.”
This year, the 5k is on Sept. 23 at 11 a.m. The overall Twin Cities goal is to raise $250,000 for multiple myeloma research, of which more than $55,000 has been raised. The Ardy Germann team are hoping to raise $10,060 and have raised more than $4,000 so far.
People are able to sign up to participate in the race as part of the Ardy Germann team at walkrun.themmrf.org/twincities18/team/view/80374/Ardy-Germann-Team. The website also has an option to donate for those who aren’t able to participate in the 5k.
Funds raised from the 5k have tripled patient survival, developed 10 new treatments in 10 years and launched more than 60 clinical trials, according to the foundation’s website.
“I wish it wasn’t a thing, or even something we had to do or talk about, but that’s the reality we have in our family,” Laurel said.
Laurel said people who attend Trinity City Church who never ended up meeting her mom have participated in the race in the past.
“It’s really, really awesome,” Laurel said. “That’s been kind of a weird thing that people don’t know that part of who I am. It means a lot that even if they didn’t meet her, they still come and support. It’s really awesome.”
Registration for the race for adults is $35, $15 for children ages 6-17 and $5 for children five years old or younger.
Go to themmrf.org for more information.
By Maggie Stanwood. Stanwood is a multimedia reporter for the Prior Lake American newspaper in Prior Lake, Minnesota.