Karen Riibner Patient

I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma(MM) in August 2016 *. Soon after, a good friend sent me a link to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation(MMRF)’s website and their “Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM)” section. “This is for you!”, she said. At that point, I didn’t even know what the illness was about, much less how or why I would move mountains for it.  

Fast forward almost 8 years to 2024, and I have lived with MM (still an incurable blood cancer), much of the time in complete and full remission, engaging in most everything I enjoyed before the diagnosis. This would not have been possible without the groundbreaking research, medical advancements and available medications supported by MMRF. I am committed to participating in their events because 100% of every dollar raised is directed toward essential MM research. This is due to the generous support of Johnson & Johnson. The partnerships between these organizations, along with others, have literally saved my life. 

I want to give back to this field and show others that this disease is treatable and manageable with specialized medical care. I am once again so very grateful to have my physical and emotional health restored and be able to support the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) with another fundraising event in 2024, for the 3rd year in a row. Yes, I am thrilled to report that I successfully completed their Moving Mountains Sweden hiking trek in 2022, Road to Victories Columbia River Gorge in 2023, and I am about to embark on Road to Victories California Wine Country event next month.

I hold gratitude in my heart daily, enjoy life’s joys and pleasures along with the challenges, and thank you for your generous support of me and others with MM. 

Sending love, Karen

* Prior to my diagnosis, starting in early 2016, I had severe and worsening pain in my back and across my chest, which became disabling. Just prior to diagnosis, I was unable to stand up or walk unassisted.  This pain turned out to be where the MM lesions and compression fracture developed in my spine and other skeletal areas in my body. After several months of chemotherapy, followed by a stem cell transplant in early 2017, this pain significantly decreased, although I had to be off of work for over 8 months. My doctors were unwilling to clear me medically for my favorite sport and pastime—downhill skiing—because of the fragility of my spine (eventually, they cleared me after years of MM treatment, strength training, and bone strengthening infusions). Happily, I have been enjoying my passion every ski season for the last couple of years. The other physical impact has been on my GI system. I have had worsening stomach upset and other bowel challenges related to the chemotherapy and maintenance treatments. This has been particularly challenging because I am a real foodie and find food to be one of life’s great pleasures. 


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The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) is the largest nonprofit in the world solely focused on accelerating a cure for each and every multiple myeloma patient. We drive the development and delivery of next-generation therapies, leverage data to identify optimal and more personalized treatment approaches, and empower myeloma patients and the broader community with information and resources to extend their lives. Central to our mission is our commitment to advancing health equity so that all myeloma patients can benefit from the scientific and clinical advances we pursue. Since our inception, the MMRF has committed over $500 million for research, opened nearly 100 clinical trials, and helped bring 15+ FDA-approved therapies to market, which have tripled the life expectancy of myeloma patients. To learn more, visit www.themmrf.org.

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