Giving Thanks for the Gift of Time

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Paula Winicur, shown here with her mother Sandra and her daughter Tess, is a lifelong supporter of the MMRF.

If you were to ask Paula Winicur why she has such strong passion for the MMRF, she would tell you it is because it gave her the most precious gift of all: time. Precisely 14 years of it—which adds up to more than 5,000 days and millions of magical moments.

Paula's mother Sandra was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1998, a time when there were few effective treatment options, and her life expectancy was three short years. Sandra received a bone marrow transplant, which helped improve her health for a short period of time. Sandra left a generous planned gift to the MMRF when she passed away, and Paula and her husband Chris remain supporters of the mission and vision.

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) gifted Paula the most tremendous of memories—having her mother at her college graduation, her wedding, and the birth of her daughter. Through times of laughter and those filled with tears, Paula walked with her mom by her side. It is difficult to quantify the gratitude Paula feels for this irreplaceable gift.

Turning a Corner

During this time, Sandra educated herself about the disease and became familiar with the MMRF.  As she began to learn more about the organization's lifesaving work, Sandra turned a corner and said, "It is time to live."

And for 14 fabulous years, Sandra did just that. As a professor at Indiana University South Bend with a Ph.D. in biology, Sandra understood the path she was walking with cancer. But her illness never kept her from inspiring, motivating, and transforming the lives of a generation of students—many of whom would become nurses and some who would become the nurses who would help care for her.

The MMRF was with Sandra every step of her journey as she continued to thrive and follow her passions: creative writing; attending book clubs; participating in study groups; teaching continuing education classes to those who, like her, were always looking to learn; and creating a local support group in her town for people and caregivers affected by multiple myeloma.

She was able to do these things because of the prolific drug discovery and accelerated FDA approvals spearheaded by the collaborative efforts of the MMRF.

A Family Tradition

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Supporting the MMRF is a family affair for Paula Winicur, her husband, Chris, and their daughter Tess.

In addition to the planned gift that Sandra left to us, Chris participated in the Race for Research campaign in Chicago and Paula donates proceeds to the MMRF through her own jewelry design company.

"Sandra's generosity was intrinsic," Chris says. "If someone needed help, she did not need to think about whether she would offer her support, she just acted. So our support of the MMRF—an organization that has given so much to so many, including Sandra—is the perfect way to celebrate her life."

Even their four-year-old daughter Tess supports the Foundation—she volunteered with Paula and Chris at the Tri-State Race in 2013.

"My mother was an extraordinary woman. Generosity of spirit and giving back were so central to her character and who she was," Paula says. "The MMRF gave me years with my mother that I might not otherwise have had, so supporting them is a natural, wonderful way to honor her memory and legacy."

 

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