In all seriousness, though, he’s running 60 miles to raise awareness and funds for research devoted to finding a cure for multiple myeloma, (pronounced MY-uh-low-muh; it is not melanoma) an incurable but treatable blood cancer.
For the past three years, Dr. Abonour has put his body to the test by running and biking in various parts of Indiana for Miles for Myeloma.
He’ll repeat his trek from last year. This year’s Miles for Myeloma, dubbed the Bloomington Boomerang: Part II, begins at midnight Oct. 31 when Abonour starts running from the IU Simon Cancer Center in downtown Indianapolis to Bloomington. Twelve hours later, he’ll finish the running leg of Miles for Myeloma by going through a human tunnel formed by patients, their families and friends, and others during pre-game festivities at the home football game at Indiana University Memorial Stadium.
More than 500 people participated in the human tunnel last year.
“It was really amazing,” Abonour said of his experience inside the stadium last year. “It was really touching to see that many people out there supporting the cause. I got amazing energy from them.”
On Nov. 2, he’ll return to Indianapolis on his bicycle until he reaches the IU Simon Cancer Center at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Dr. Abonour is the associate dean of clinical research and an associate professor of medicine at the medical school. He also directs the IU Simon Cancer Center Adult Clinical Research Office.
Overall, this year’s event will take him about 120 miles by foot and bike, and he hopes to become the “million-dollar doc” by raising a cumulative $1 million. Thus far, he has raised $670,500 in the previous events. All of the funds are used by researchers at the IU Simon Cancer Center.
A person with myeloma, according to Abonour, is typically in their 60s. The cancer, which Abonour said will strike about 19,000 people this year, accumulates in bone marrow, weakening the bones and causing osteoporosis, anemia and kidney failure. Myeloma also leaves people susceptible to infections because their immune system has been weakened.
“It is still frustrating that we cannot cure this disease,” Abonour said. “We can prolong a patient’s life, but we can’t get rid of multiple myeloma. It’s frustrating, but I’m hopeful. We have good leads, and we have great drugs that we’re using right now. So, hopefully, we can put them together in a way that will cure the disease.”
Notes to editors:
Miles for Myeloma begins at midnight Friday, Oct. 31 outside the IU Simon Cancer Center, 535 Barnhill Drive. Well-wishers are welcome.
Abonour will finish the first leg of Miles for Myeloma shortly before noon Saturday, Nov. 1 inside the football stadium at Indiana University Bloomington during pre-game festivities.
The second leg begins at 8 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 2 when Abonour begins to cycle back to Indianapolis.
Miles for Myeloma wraps up with a finish-line celebration at approximately 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2 outside the IU Simon Cancer Center, 535 Barnhill Drive, Indianapolis. All are invited.
A photo of Abonour on his bike is available upon request.