Myeloma patient raises over £104,000 with epic Pisa to Rome ride

Bob Munro tackled a mammoth 300-mile bike ride from Pisa to Rome in just four days to raise funds and awareness for Myeloma UK.

Bob and his team, including 3 other patients, cycled 4 days and 300 very hilly miles from Pisa, through Tuscany, to Rome, to raise funds for our research and advocacy work.

Bob’s diagnosis and treatment

Bob was diagnosed with myeloma back in 2012, aged just 52-years-old.

He had a difficult time treating his myeloma. By early 2022 he had exhausted all treatment avenues, suffered 10 fractures in two years and taken around 100,000 tablets. His myeloma had never once gone into remission.

In hindsight, Bob had had a host of symptoms, including stomach and chest infections he simply couldn’t shake, for months prior to his diagnosis. It all came to a head during a skiing trip. He caught pneumonia and was hospitalised. An X-ray revealed he had lesions all over his back. Speaking of his experience, Bob said:

“Looking back, I realise there were all sorts of symptoms there. But it was only the exertions of skiing that escalated my situation into a massive case of pneumonia, emergency hospitalisation and the tests which confirmed the myeloma. I was quite lucky get this diagnosis before any catastrophic bone or kidney damage.”

Thankfully in February 2023, a new clinical trial helped the now 63-year-old and, despite some debilitating side effects, he is now in remission for the first time in 11 years.

Riding through Italy

To celebrate this “minor miracle”, Bob, an avid cyclist, along with 37 family members and friends, took on an epic 300-mile ride from Pisa to Rome in just four days back in September to fund research into a cure. Together, they’ve now raised more than £104,000 – “£1 for every tablet I’ve taken” says Bob.

The Pisa to Rome Ride had been a long time coming for Bob. It was initially planned for 2020 to celebrate beating the odds and making it to his 60th birthday, but was postponed due to the pandemic.

Another attempt in 2022, this time a “10-year survival edition” also had to be cancelled when his health quickly deteriorated.

But this time around, there was no stopping him. Bob and his crew set off from the Tower of Pisa on Wednesday 20 September, making their way through the hills of Tuscany, to Siena, Chianciano and San Martino and then on to Rome, via Vatican City, with a gladiatorial finish at the Colosseum on Saturday 23.

He said:

“Arriving at the Colosseum to be greeted by my two young granddaughters – the grandchildren I thought I’d never see when I was diagnosed – was my personal highlight.

Fundraising with so many family and friends to find more drugs, like the ones that have given me the life I have, and to help find a cure, is incredibly rewarding – life-changing for both patients and fundraisers.”

Fundraising for Myeloma UK

After the treatment and support Bob has received, he wanted to help other people affected by myeloma. Bob said:

“I’ve been so lucky to be an outlier in survival terms, and grateful that I have managed to have a great quality of life and I hope that my good fortune to be able to cycle and fundraise can be translated into help and hope for all my fellow patients and all those to come.

“This is where Myeloma UK comes in. They are the only dedicated myeloma charity in the UK, who fund research, trials like mine, and ensure the lengthy process of ‘bench to bedside’ for new drugs is foreshortened as much as possible, by making sure the patient voice is heard. That is why I am so passionate about fundraising for Myeloma UK. They are literally helping to save the lives of patients like me.”

Thank you so much to Bob and his family and friends for supporting us. If you would like to donate to Bob’s challenge, you can do so on his JustGiving page.

If you’re feeling inspired, we’d love to hear from you! Get in touch by emailing fundraising@myeloma.org.uk.

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