CHICAGO (CBS) — A 34-year-old Carol Stream woman will climb Mount Fuji next month to honor her father and to raise money to support research on the cancer that killed him.
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, the world’s leading private funder of myeloma research, is hosting “The Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma” fundraising event benefiting research for new treatments, and hopefully one day a cure. The event will take a specially selected team of 19, made up of multiple myeloma patients, caregivers, doctors, clinicians, nurses, and others connected to multiple myeloma, to Mount Fuji for a two-day hike.
Jean Wescher is one of those 19 and said, in six weeks, she will climb Japan’s Mount Fuji to raise money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Wescher’s father, Dennis Quinn died of Multiple Myeloma in 2014 at the age of 63.
“He would think this is the coolest thing,” Wescher said. “I can hear him bragging about it, as we speak.”
Wescher said her father was only given five years to live when he was diagnosed in 2003, but because of the MMRF and his doctors he had 12 years.
“Multiple Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and sadly, has one of the lowest five-year survival rates of all cancers,” Wescher said in her post on the MMRF website. “With the help of his doctors and the research done through the MMRF, Dad had 12 years instead of the 3 to 5 years that he was given at diagnosis.”
Because of the MMRF, doctors and her father’s strength to fight, she said, he was able to see his first grandson.
“He desperately wanted to meet his first grandson and he was not going to miss it. And he didn’t! He held on and was the first person to hold Jackson just an hour after his birth as Dad came from a treatment in the next building over. It was truly one of the happiest, most tearful moments of my life,” Wescher said in her post on the MMRF website.
In those 12 years Quinn battled with cancer, he was able to make many memories.
“As avid sports fan, he was here to see the White Sox win a World Series, the Bears go to the Super Bowl and the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups. He missed seeing his Cubbies win the World Series this past year, but was most certainly watching from his prime spot in Heaven. Even more special than these, he was here to walk me down the aisle, to welcome my daughter, Emma Grace, into the world and he hung on with every ounce of strength he had to be with us for the arrival of my son, Jackson Quinn,” Wescher wrote.
The Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma Mount Fuji trip is “an amazing way to honor him,” Wescher said. “And I truly feel like I’ll be closer to him on Fuji than I have been in the past few years.”
So why is Wescher and 18 others participating in the hike?
“Because climbing a mountain won’t cure cancer, but research will. And research takes money. I want to be part of the action that is getting us closer to a cure,” she said.
Wescher has completed marathons, and has even participated in an ultra-marathon, but she said she is no mountain climber.
“I have never climbed a mountain. I have barely hiked. But on this adventure, I will go well outside of my comfort zone and hike the 12,389 feet to the summit,” Wescher said in her post on the MMRF website. “The work ahead of me in training for this event is a big challenge, but nothing compared to the challenges face by patients with multiple myeloma.”
Wescher hopes to raise $10,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
“I have made a commitment to raise at least $5,000 and I need your help to get there. Please contribute whatever you can. It all adds up!!” Wescher wrote in her post on the MMRF website, https://endurance.themmrf.org/2017Fuji/jeanquinnwescher