KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A longtime captain with the Knoxville Police Department wants people to become more familiar with the term multiple myeloma. It’s a rare form of incurable blood cancer, with which Capt. Jeff Stiles was diagnosed nearly two years ago. Friends and loved ones held blood drives to help.Previous Story:Knoxville community turns out to donate blood for police captain battling cancer
Capt. Stiles is now working on a new challenge that requires good hiking gear. He’s happy to be back at work.
“Doing great, feeling great. I tell people I’m the healthiest cancer patient they’ll find,” said Capt. Stiles.
Doctors found something devastating two years ago.
“He says, ‘Have you ever heard of multiple myeloma?’ And I said, ‘Nah I don’t think I have.’ And I soon realized I was going to hear a lot more of it,” said Stiles.
He’s made it through chemotherapy treatments and a transplant using his own stem cells. Now he’s scaling a new mountain: Machu Picchu.
“It’ll be a five mile journey and it’ll be a fairly steep climb in many places,” said Stiles.
The hike with fellow survivors and caregivers is to raise awareness and money for this rare blood-borne cancer.
“To get to that goal it takes research. It takes clinical trials. Just in the last six months there have been multiple therapies that have been approved by the FDA that are lengthening the lifespan of people like me. Ten years ago our life expectancy was two or three years,” added Captain Stiles.
His team went practice hiking last weekend in New York and in August, Stiles will take a week off from work under happier circumstances.
“It’s also a journey for each of us an individual journey to show us, ourselves, that we can do this. But I think all of us want to show other folks that no matter what life has given you, sometimes you just gotta take it head on.”More online: