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Meet Dennis McClure MMRF 2024 Walk/Run: Dallas Spirit of Hope Honoree and member of the North Texas Myeloma Support Group (NTMSG)

I was diagnosed with MGUS in June, 1993, but my primary care physician and my first three oncologists all led me to believe that I already had active multiple myeloma. Since I am a retired scientist, I began a continuing quest to educate myself about all things myeloma. That was greatly helped when I joined the North Texas Myeloma Support Group (NTMSG) in April 2004. This support group meets in Dallas monthly with patient sharing and guest speakers. In a very real sense, those support group members became a part of my extended family, and many are now good friends. I am now a technical resource to help find answers to questions from other support group members. My wife and I do not have any children. Our immediate and extended families all live at least 900 miles away. So, my Dallas support group is a significant part of my social family.

I became involved with the MMRF after discovering that they are a very good reputable resource for myeloma education. The more I learned, the more I was impressed with how professionally run, organized, and effective the MMRF seemed to be. I was especially impressed with the creation of the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC). The MMRC used critical business processes to accelerate the rapid initiation and completion of Phase 1 and 2 myeloma clinical trials by eliminating much of the prior competition to complete and publish research results individually. Each organization member specializes in what they do best and then shares the credit and quicker publication of results.

I was also very impressed with the MMRF CoMMpass study. It focused on mapping the genomic landscape of myeloma to understand patient subtypes and risk stratification and identify new targets. These results are available in the public domain for all myeloma researchers. It was the first study to identify twelve subtypes for myeloma related back to DNA alterations. This identified actionable DNA alterations for personalized treatment that became available in the MMRF MyDRUG clinical trial.

I was also impressed with the goals of the MMRF CureCloud study. This was one of the largest longitudinal data sets to collect myeloma patient information to help direct future myeloma research efforts. I participated in this CureCloud project.

I am a retired scientist formerly employed by a Johnson & Johnson company that manufactured hospital laboratory testing materials and human injectable products (derived from human blood). Therefore, I know the importance of clinical trial participation to get new myeloma treatments evaluated and FDA approved. For this reason, I have already participated in three clinical trials to do my part to help this process.

I feel that the MMRF does a particularly good job of efficiently using donated funds to produce very significant myeloma research knowledge results that are then put to practical use. A NTMSG member and friend, Patrick Beal, began organizing and captaining a team for the yearly MMRF Dallas Walk/Run fundraisers. I have always joined that MMRF fundraising team to support Patrick and that effort. For that reason, I consider this Spirit of Hope award to be a team effort. I give the credit to our North Texas Myeloma Support Group (NTMSG) MMRF 5K Walk/Run yearly fundraising teams. We tend to come in second or third most years in our fundraising success against much larger teams and organizations. This Spirit of Hope award acknowledges our team accomplishments in fundraising for such a worthwhile cause.

My personal philosophy for managing my myeloma mandates having hope, sharing the hope, and continuing education. Whatever happens, happens for a reason. Always remain positive about your life.

I take a lot of inspiration from Jim Valvano’s 3/4/1993 ESPY speech: “Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul.” Valvano was an American basketball player, coach, and broadcaster. The motto for the Jimmy V Foundation for cancer research is “Don’t give up! Don’t ever give up!”

The MMRF is delighted to recognize Dennis McClure as the MMRF 2024 Walk/Run: Dallas Spirit of Hope Honoree. We encourage you to donate to his team the North Texas Myeloma Support Group (NTMSG)

This award is presented at every Walk/Run to a patient, caregiver, or family who inspires hope through their resilience, perseverance, and dedication to the MMRF and its mission.