Miles for Myeloma 2021

That One Team

Multiple myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells in the blood, so there is no surgical cure.  It is a progressive disease, meaning that as time goes on, those with multiple myeloma feel more fatigue, bone pain/fractures, bleeding problems, shortness of breath, and overall weakness.

The people and families you are supporting

Billy Allen was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in December 2018. He had been having back pain, fatigue, and foot numbness for several months prior to his diagnosis, and tried to fight through those symptoms.  Finally, blood work resulted in the initial diagnosis of multiple myeloma, later confirmed with a bone marrow biopsy and CAT scan. Good news: His stem cell transplant has improved his condition very much!

Billy has lived a life of service to several communities as a teacher and coach. He began his teaching career at Sacaton Middle School, then taught Arizona history and O’odham history at Casa Grande Union High School for 31.5 years where he did a stint as Social Studies department chair. He coached cross country and track at CGUHS for 20 years, and his cross country team won a state championship in 1981. He’s supposedly “retired,” but writes a monthly column for the Gila River Indian News, sharing his research on O’otham-centric history.

Following a routine diabetes check-up in 2016, Teresa Choyguhaʼs primary doctor asked her to come in for additional blood work which led to a diagnosis of smoldering multiple myeloma. Cancer cells were confirmed by a bone marrow biopsy, which was followed by close monitoring for 3 years. In 2018, Teresa suffered fractured ribs and compression fractures to her vertebrae, possibly related to the weakening of her bones from multiple myeloma. In 2019, she began chemotherapy to slow the myeloma and to prepare for stem cell collection. Stem cells were collected on December 31, 2019 and on January 3, 2020 a stem cell transplant was successfully completed. Teresa is very fortunate. The diligence of her doctor who suspected multiple myeloma provided Teresa with early detection of the cancer. She has received tremendous support from other myeloma survivors and the community.   

The run/walk is also a tribute for Viola M. Ochoa of Sells, AZ (November 18, 1931- June 6, 2003) who passed from multiple myeloma. As a young girl, she attended the Escuela Academy Boarding School in Tucson where she ran track and played basketball always on the A-team. Viola was an excellent cook. To this day, no one can make cowboy chumuth like she did.
  And it has been said she made the best peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Honor your parents is a lesson she learned from a very early age. That is how she lived her life. She was always sure that her choices, decisions, and path in life would honor her parents. This is a lesson she taught her children, so that they could teach their children. A passing of the torch, one generation to the next, and in that Viola continues to live as a lasting part of her family, forever in their hearts.

We are also happy to have the Holsome family join as a tribute to Nathanial Holsome Sr. (December 20, 1940-March 19, 2019) of Las Cruces, NM. After serving in the Army and then working as a firefighter in El Centro, CA, Nate moved his family to Phoenix and joined the Nation of Islam. He shared his love of gardening with all who knew him and tended his neighbor’s lawns in South Phoenix. He became a Master Gardener and oversaw the gardens at the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension in Phoenix for 19 years until his illness. Nate loved to talk, was a member of Toastmasters, and was one of the friendliest people anyone could ever meet.

Your support of this fundraiser for multiple myeloma research will rally those who are living with it and honor those we have lost to it. Our families appreciate your kindness and keeping us in your hearts as we fight against multiple myeloma. As That One Team, we’ll be running socially distanced miles away from each other, but we’ll be united as ONE in hope.

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