As we have done each year we want to recognize another member of our extended family who is fighting a brave fight against cancer.
This year, we swim for Valerie Narins Malsch. Valerie is the mother of four children, three daughters and a son. Her husband has accompanied us across the Sound in a kayak in past years, but the swim and the money raised to fight cancer hit too close to home when Valerie was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in April 2017. Multiple Myeloma causes cancer cells to accumulate in the bone marrow, where they crowd out healthy blood cells. Valerie’s cancer was diminishing her immune system and compromising her kidney function. There is currently no cure for Multiple Myeloma, but recent treatment options have shown great promise by significantly extending what used to be a 1-3 year life expectancy; and hopefully a cure is on the horizon. Valerie underwent chemo for the first 5 months after diagnosis, and then went on a newly approved immunotherapy, a new class of drugs, late last year. In January, Valerie underwent a Bone Marrow Transplant. This procedure required a 3 week hospital stay and 2 additional months of very limited interactions with friends due to a severely compromised immune system. Last month, Valerie’s blood tests and bone marrow biopsy results showed no detectable cancer, and she is considered in complete response. However, though we love the word remission, people in this field don't use it because myeloma always comes back after some time; how much time, no one knows. Thus, Valerie started a maintenance drug cocktail this summer which she will stay on for the foreseeable future. Valerie feels and looks great, especially with her current GI Jane hair style, and we know she is fighting as hard as we will swim for her.
We are swimming to show our support for what she has endured and to celebrate her current prognosis! Without your support through Swim Across America and the wonderful other charities working on various cancer treatments and a cure, the monoclonal antibody drug that worked so well for Valerie would not exist. In fact, many of the beneficiaries of SAA’s past grants have gone to institutions at the forefront of treating and developing a cure for Multiple Myeloma, including Dana Farber, Columbia Presbyterian, and Memorial Sloan Kettering.
Please support us by sponsoring our swim and making a gift. You can make a credit card donation by clicking on one of the members of our team, or send a check to
Swim Across America, PO Box 217, Larchmont, NY 10538.