Phil Harbridge and his granddaughter Teal. (Contributed photo)

Phil Harbridge and his granddaughter Teal. (Contributed photo)

South Surrey man raises funds for multiple myeloma research

Vancouver Multiple Myeloma March to take place Sunday, Oct. 18

South Surrey’s Phil Harbridge says because of the obscurity of the disease, raising funds for multiple myeloma research has had its challenges when compared to some other, better-known, cancers.

However, Harbridge, who was diagnosed with myeloma last year, says the cancer is not, in fact, as rare as one might suspect.

A retired high school teacher and avid runner, Harbridge noticed his body was acting strangely when he tried to keep his regular pace. His breathing was becoming more laboured and he wasn’t getting the oxygen he required.

Harbridge, 57 at the time, brushed it off as a sign of age.

But then, while on a run in Palm Springs in August 2018, something happened that Harbridge had not experienced before – he tripped and broke a rib.

The injury inspired more frequent visits to the doctor. The doctor took note of Harbridge’s anemia and, with the help of a keen eye from medical staff, an oddity was spotted in Harbridge’s blood work. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in February 2019.

Multiple myeloma is a blood cancer that is associated with abnormal growth of the plasma cell. Plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cell, produce antibodies.

Symptoms of the disease include pain (mostly frequently back pain) fatigue, anemia, recurrent infections and cold sores, and kidney problems.

According to Myeloma Canada, the average age at diagnosis is 62 years old for men and 61 for women.

And that, paired with the symptoms associated with the disease, is one reason why Harbridge says that myeloma is, perhaps, more common that one might believe.

“I’m telling you, there’s a lot of people that probably have it that they don’t know about. You know, 10-20 years ago people died from this not knowing they had it and maybe just struggled with back pain and breathing,” Harbridge said.

He said it’s the second-most common blood cancer, after leukemia.

“If you mention it to most people, they would never know what it is. They never heard of it. And that was my case when I was first diagnosed.”

Harbridge is striving to raise awareness and funds for myeloma research. He’s a member of this year’s Vancouver Multiple Myeloma March, which aims to “make myeloma matter.”

His team, Surrey Multiple Myeloma Marchers, are seeking donations before and after the event, which is to take place this Sunday, Oct. 18.

Typically held in Burnaby, the event will look a little different this year, for obvious reasons, and it will instead be held as neighbourhood walks.

To donate his team or to learn more about the disease, visit www.myelomamarch.ca

Cancerfundraiser

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Matthew Campbell, director of the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank, stands amongst a large amount of non-perishable food and household items being stored inside the Pacific Community Church. This year’s ‘Halloween For Hunger’ food drive, put on by students at Clayton Heights, will go to benefit the Fraser Valley Regional Food Bank. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Clayton Heights Secondary kicks off annual ‘Halloween for Hunger’ event

Students to collect much-needed items for food bank

John Horgan brought the NDP campaign to Langley on Wednesday, Oct. 21, just three days before the B.C. vote (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
Horgan brings NDP campaign to Langley

Predicts gains, says people are looking at the party ‘differently’ after three years

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
OUR VIEW: Lenient courts aren’t helping

It’s hard to fault the palpable frustration of Metro Vancouver Transit Police

The Surrey Eagles are currently seeking billet families for its players in advance of the 2020-‘21 BC Hockey League season. (Garrett James photo)
Surrey Eagles in ‘desperate’ need of billet families for BCHL season

COVID-19 pandemic has made finding homes for players difficult: billet co-ordinator

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
UPDATE: Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Brody Peterson said he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Brody Peterson told The Gazette he intends to dispute tickets issued by Grand Forks RCMP at his backyard “house warming” Saturday, Oct. 10. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
‘This is a big outdoor space’: Grand Forks man behind backyard party to fight COVID tickets

Homeowner Brody Peterson said he’ll dispute tickets for refusing police instructions, alleged COVID violations

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

RCMP were called to an assault in the 23700-block of 110 Ave in Maple Ridge Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020. (Curtis Kreklau/Special to The News)
PHOTOS: Assault in Maple Ridge sends three men to hospital

RCMP were called to a residence Tuesday night

A 2018 decision to fly a rainbow flag ended up costing the City of Langley $62,000 in legal fees (Langley Advance Times file)
Human rights win in rainbow flag fight cost B.C. city $62,000

“Lengthy and involved” process provoked by complaint

Most Read