The Fairfield University Rowing Team will be hosting Meters for Myeloma, a 5K walk/run to raise awareness and funds for multiple myeloma, starting at Alumni Hall on Sunday, Oct. 14 at noon.

The Fairfield University Rowing Team started the Meters for Myeloma Walk/Run after Matthew Labine, beloved rowing coach, passed away from multiple myeloma in September 2017. Labine started rowing at Yale University, and, after graduation, rowed for two U.S. National teams and won bronze in the U.S. 8+ at the 1981 World Rowing Championships. Labine was a finalist for the U.S. Olympic trials in Rowing in 1980 and 1984. He was also a writer for “General Hospital,” the television drama, and won an Emmy in 2004 for his writing. The event is a way to honor his memory.

Meters for Myeloma also honors Jo Hannafin Ph.D., friend of the Rowing Team, and multiple myeloma patient diagnosed in April 2012. Hannafin is considered to be a founding mother of women’s crew at Brown University, where she competed in crew for all four of her undergraduate years. She attended medical school at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Hannafin won three gold medals in the U.S. National Rowing Championship and a silver medal in the 1984 World Rowing Championships. She was the team physician for the U.S. Rowing Team. Hannafin was the first female president of the American Orthopedic Society, Dr. Hannafin was also director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Center and the first clinician-scientist at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and was honored as one of the best doctors in America in the past 20 years.

Multiple myeloma attacks plasma cells which normally fight infection with the help of antibodies in the bone marrow, the sponge-like tissue at the center of your bones. Myeloma causes malignant plasma cells to propagate, preventing one’s ability to fight off infection.

As the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation states, “With the push for advancement of multiple myeloma therapies, 10 new drugs have been approved in the time it typically takes to obtain a single drug approval. The MMRF continues to investigate and fund the most promising treatments for multiple myeloma.”

“Every sport has a service aspect. We chose to raise money for multiple myeloma because of our coach. It’s a really big fundraiser, and it’s a lot of fun. This year, I think it’ll be our biggest year yet. It keeps growing, which is really nice,” said Maggie O’Donnell ‘19, who rows port/starboard on the Rowing team. “The course is a campus loop. It’s not super intense, it’s relaxed. There are snacks in Alumni Hall afterwards, and we’re selling t-shirts after the event.”  

By coming to Meters for Myeloma, attendees will be helping to raise funds for scientists to discover cures for Multiple Myeloma. Participants can register up until the day of the event. The cost is $12 for students, $15 for faculty and staff and $10 for children.


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