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But after four years of battling the cancer, Raza passed away in October 2011.
“It was hard. I mean, I was extremely close to my dad,” Joy said. “My dad was my go-to guy. If I had a big decision I needed to work out in my head, I would go and talk to him about it.”
Joy moved away from Regina after her father’s death, but in September 2019 she returned to the Queen City and began looking for a place she could do some volunteer work.
Seeing that breast cancer and prostate cancer were both much more widely known than multiple myeloma, she began looking for a way to raise awareness about the cancer that had impacted her own family. She came across Myeloma Canada and saw they organized annual walks in communities across Canada, and she reached out to Regina volunteers.
The volunteers were glad to have her help and said they were still looking for someone to lead the Regina Multiple Myeloma March this year. Joy agreed to take charge.
“I think it’s really important to delve into research and try to find a way to cure it, and find more and more treatments that work for people,” she said.
“No treatment for any cancer is a panacea, but the more options we have available for people, the better their chances.”
The pandemic is changing how the march will run, so instead of holding one large event, Joy said people are encouraged to walk in their own neighbourhood on Sept. 27. Participants can still register at myelomacanada.ca under Regina or just choose to donate.
Joy encouraged anyone who normally walks even just a kilometre or two to raise some money for cancer research on that day.
“Even if you just talk to your family and raise $100, that’s $100 more than we would have had,” she said. “It doesn’t matter how you get involved, just get involved.”