A Surrey doctor will join patients and carers in Patagonia to raise awareness and funds for treating a little-known form of cancer.

Dr Pawel Kaczmarek lives in Carshalton and works at the NHS Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust treating patients with Multiple Myeloma.

Multiple Myeloma, though a relatively common form of bone marrow cancer, is not very well known and can be "very challenging" to treat.

For both those reasons, extra funding and raising awareness about the disease is important in helping to look after patients, and that's what the Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM) project aims to accomplish.

Dr Kaczmarek joined previous MM4MM expeditions and has previously visited Mount Everest Base Camp, and has now set his sights on the group's next adventure, raising over US$7,000 ahead of the trek itself.

This will see a team of supporters, doctors and patients journey to Argentina and Chile next month for 8-9 days of trekking through the vast South American wilderness.

Home to some of the most spectacular mountains, forests and glaciers on the planet, Patagonia is also known for its harsh climate and powerful storms.

Your Local Guardian: The Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina. Image via pixabayThe Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina. Image via pixabay

So is Dr Kaczmarek up to the task?

"I've done the Mount Everest Base Camp Trek which was pretty tough. And even tougher trying to get back!

"I've been climbed a mountain in Borneo and in my leisure time I like going to the mountains with my kids.

"The trek is absolutely perfect for me I think," he said.

This certainly bodes well for trekking through the lands Bruce Chatwin famously journeyed to in search of their "absolute remoteness and foul climate".

Alongside Dr Kaczmarek, another myeloma doctor and four multiple myeloma patients who are currently in remission will help make up a 15-16 per team for the adventure.

"We're raising money for Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. It's a relatively common type of bone marrow cancer but you don't hear so much about it as is the case with say breast cancer, lung cancer or leukaemia.

"It's often an immensely challenging disease. When I was doing my first job I was told the overall survival rate for these patients was three years.

"Now we are slowly talking about curing Myeloma but it's a very challenging disease and we need specialized approaches for each patient.

"This year I turned fifty, and lost two patients of the same age to Multiple Myeloma, despite all that progress," Dr Kaczmarek pointed out.

His career in general and that experience in particular provided all the motivation he needs for when things get tough out there, as they are bound to at certain points during the trek.

Encompassing terrain like the upper slopes of several iconic Patagonian peaks including Cerro Fitz Roy, and the spectacular Perito Moreno glacier, some of the wildest landscapes on Earth will face the MM4MM team during the expedition.

While he appreciates its challenges ahead of time, Dr Kaczmarek sounds like he is ready for the task ahead.

"I'm doing this for my patients. I've received a lot of support from patients, their families and friends, but also from my colleagues both at work and beyond.

"I've received donations from Germany, the US and Poland, so we're spreading the news," he said.

To donate, go to Dr Kaczmarek's page on the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation website https://endurance.themmrf.org/2019Patagonia/pawelkaczmarek