Annual Leo Senz Memorial Walk for Myeloma this Sunday

EAST HANTS/HALIFAX: Scott Huntley, a Learning Design Officer who creates online training modules, was born and raised in Nova Scotia and lived there until he moved away for college. Eventually, he met and married Caryn, an Australian native.

When Caryn returned to Australia in 2003, Scott followed, and they have lived there ever since. In May of this year, the couple had a trip booked to Tasmania, however, a week before their trip, Scott broke his arm after throwing a ball; an injury he now refers to as his ‘lucky break’.

In the weeks prior to breaking his arm, Scott was feeling pain in his hips, back and arm. Initially, he assumed that the pain was related to poor ergonomics and layout of his home office. However, when Scott broke his arm, the emergency room doctor was concerned that the fracture was caused by something more serious.

Scott was admitted to the hospital the same day for further investigation. Within 24 hours he had met with an oncologist who suspected that the pain Scott had been experiencing and his fractured arm where symptoms of a little-known and incurable blood cancer.

Two weeks later, after two bone biopsies, Scott was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. He is just 47 years old.

Scott was completely shocked by the diagnosis.

 “The first week I was in hospital, I didn’t want anyone to know that I had cancer. I can’t explain why, but I felt ashamed, like it was something I wanted to hide,” he says. “The three emotions that I oscillated between were denial, fear and anger. It’s hard to be angry at cancer as it’s intangible but I wanted to punch it as hard as it had punched me. I wanted to do something, anything that I could to hurt it back”.

Scott underwent surgery to repair his broken arm, which included inserting two plates and 10 screws. Since then, he has also received a bone graft, undergone several biopsies, 10 rounds of radiation, and has begun chemotherapy in preparation for a stem cell transplant that he is set to receive next year.

The hope is that the procedure will place the myeloma into remission.

Although he now lives in Australia, to Scott, Nova Scotia is home. His three sisters, Nicole, Shelley, and Pamela, along with their parents, Agnes, and Ken, live in the Maritimes and Ontario.

Immediately after his diagnosis, Scott became very active in raising funds and awareness for myeloma

“I want to do everything I can to pay it forward to future myeloma patients in order to improve their treatment outcomes. Someone had made my journey easier, so I want to try to make someone else’s journey easier too,” Scott adds.

For these reasons, Scott’s team in Halifax, Scott’s Walking Matildas, will be lacing-up to raise awareness and critical research funds at Myeloma Canada’s 11th Annual Leo Senz Memorial Walk for Multiple Myeloma.

This year, the event will be taking place, virtually, on September 26, 2021, at 9 a.m. The financial goal for the Halifax 5 km walk/run is set at $16,000. Scott and his team have already raised close to $4,500.

The 5 km event has been modified to help stop the spread of COVID-19. In compliance with physical distancing measures, participants are encouraged to hold their own walk in their neighbourhood at the same time as the regularly scheduled march on September 26.

The Multiple Myeloma March, Myeloma Canada’s flagship fundraiser, is now in its 13th year with a national fundraising goal set at $600,000.

Funds raised by the March will support Myeloma Canada’s Myeloma Research Priority Setting Partnership (PSP), a unique initiative that uses community input to identify and define future investments in myeloma research, as well as the Canadian Myeloma Research Group (CMRG) to help further Canadian research, clinical trials and the National Myeloma Database.