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Michael Schug
IU Simon Cancer Center
317-417-0709 (cell)

Last modified: Tuesday, October 30, 2007

IU Simon Cancer Center doctor to run, bike 117 miles for multiple myeloma research

Fundraising effort on track to raise at least $250,000

Oct. 30, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS - Most men in their late 40s typically do not start running at midnight. And most don't set out to cover more than 100 miles on foot and bike over a weekend.

Rafat Abonour is not most men -- he's on a mission. Abonour is passionate about finding a cure for multiple myeloma, an incurable but treatable blood cancer.

Day in and day out, Abonour -- an oncologist and researcher with the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center -- sees people with the disease. He listens to them. He empathizes with them. He treats them. He searches for a cure.

"They are my friends," Abonour said. "We become family. We cry together. We laugh together."

For the past two years, Abonour -- an avid amateur marathon runner -- has put his body to the test to raise money for research devoted to finding a cure for multiple myeloma.

On Nov. 3 and 4, he again will run and bike as part of his mission to help his patients. His mission, known as Miles for Myeloma, takes him from Indianapolis to Bloomington, Ind., and back. Dubbed the Bloomington Boomerang, this year's Miles for Myeloma begins at midnight Saturday, Nov. 3, outside the Indiana Cancer Pavilion on the Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis campus, when Abonour begins his run to Bloomington. Twelve hours later, he'll run through a human tunnel formed by patients, their families and friends, and others during pre-game festivities at the IU Bloomington home football game.

The next day, he'll head back to Indianapolis, biking a different route until he gets back to the Indiana Cancer Pavilion.

In all, his feet and bike tires will touch 117 miles of pavement. His travels will take him through Indianapolis, Mooresville, Martinsville and Bloomington.

His endeavor will touch many. Thanks to the fund-raising efforts of his patients, Abonour's Miles for Myeloma is on track to raise at least $250,000 this year. Patients and others supporting the event solicit the pledges and sponsorships from individuals and corporations.

Why does he do it?

"We're still losing patients," he said. "It's disheartening that we can't cure these patients. I think the mission is to find out why we can't cure these patients."

For more information, contact Michael Schug, IU Cancer Center, at 317-278-0953, by cell phone at 317-417-0709 or at

Note to editors: Here is the itinerary for Miles for Myeloma:

  • It will begin at midnight on Nov. 3 at the Indiana Cancer Pavilion, 535 Barnhill Drive, in downtown Indianapolis. From the Indiana Cancer Pavilion, Abonour will make his way to State Road 37 and head south to Bloomington. He will run 52 miles.
  • Abonour will finish the first leg of Miles for Myeloma shortly before noon on Nov. 3 inside the football stadium at Indiana University Bloomington during pre-game festivities.
  • The second leg begins at 8:30 a.m. Nov. 4. Abonour will cycle north for 65 miles to the Indiana Cancer Pavilion.
  • Miles for Myeloma wraps up with a finish-line celebration at approximately 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 4 in the Indiana Cancer Pavilion atrium.