The Kaufmann-Fink Family: Doing MMORE to Fight Multiple Myeloma
When her then-22-year-old daughter Sarah was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2005, Nancy Kaufmann often lay awake at night filled with worry.
Even after chemotherapy, radiation and a stem cell transplant sent Sarah into a remission she remains in to this day, Kaufmann continued to worry. Multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells found in bone marrow—not to be confused with the similar-sounding melanoma, a skin cancer—has a high recurrence rate. “I would lie awake at night, wondering if Sarah would have a relapse,” says Kaufmann.
Kaufmann and husband Steven Fink realized they needed to act. In 2008, they founded Multiple Myeloma Opportunities for Research & Education (MMORE), a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure. “It’s incredibly empowering to take action against a cancer that is thumbing its nose at you,” says Kaufmann.
Recently, MMORE celebrated having raised more than $1.3 million through grassroots fundraising, including an annual gala that will next take place Feb. 8, 2014, at the Hilton Columbus at Easton, and a 5K race that occurs each June.
Of the funds raised to date, MMORE has donated $1 million to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James). While Sarah received her treatments in Seattle, Wash., where she attended college and continues to live, it was only natural that MMORE partner with the OSUCCC – James. Kaufmann and Fink reside in the Columbus suburb of Upper Arlington and were thrilled to discover the world-class multiple myeloma research happening in their back yard.
“We’re incredibly grateful for our relationship with The James,” says Fink, noting that Drs. Craig Hofmeister, Don Benson, and Yvonne Efebera, among others, walk or run alongside patients in MMORE’s 5K and host tables at the gala. “The doctors here are unbelievable—just an extraordinary, exceptional group of people. We have so much confidence in the researchers.”
Now, rather than worry at night, Kaufmann keeps a notepad and pen next to her bed where she can easily record the fundraising ideas that come to her at all hours.
Sarah, now an ICU nurse, recently started a 5K in Seattle to support MMORE’s mission and serves on the organization’s board along with her sister Jessica. “In our work, Sarah is never far from our minds. She is doing well—thriving, even,” says Kaufmann. But until MMORE helps researchers find a cure for multiple myeloma, Kaufmann will not be satisfied. “I’m ready to plan a gala to celebrate finding a cure. And when we do, that will be a wonderful day.”
RideMMORE is MMORE’s bicycling team that has participated in Pelotonia since its beginning in 2009 and has raised more than $250,000 for innovative and life-saving cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center — James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute. The RideMMORE team simultaneously raises awareness for multiple myeloma and funds for cancer research.