Community Member Diagnosed with Rare Cancer Launches Knife Raffle to Fight the Disease

Blades Against MPN is holding its first knife raffle fundraiser to combat myeloproliferative neoplasms, a family of dangerous blood cancers. The grassroots outfit is lead by a member of the knife community who suffers from the most dangerous disease in the MPN family. In its brief time in existence, the organization has pulled in a roster of top-tier sponsors including Spyderco, Razor Edge Knives, Sketchen Scales, WorkSharp, Iron & Emotion, PK Design Lab, and BladeFlick.

Bob Wanamaker, the Founder of Blades Against MPN, reached out to Sal and co. through the forums and says Spyderco’s help played a key role in establishing the fundraiser. “If Sal would have answered differently, this wouldn’t have happened,” he tells us. “It was such a positive response right out of the gate that I said, ‘Okay, this has to happen now.'”

First and second prizes are gear packages that include customized Spyderco knives – a Gayle Bradley 2 and a Manix 2 respectively. Spyderco provided the pre-modded knives themselves, and also helped with the t-shirt everyone who enters receives along with their spot in the raffle.

Money raised from the raffle will be donated to the MPN Research Foundation. “It is the only foundation dedicated to this family of cancers,” Wanamaker says. He tells us that raising awareness of MPN diseases is almost as much help to the foundation as the money. “The amount of research for MPNs pales in comparison to what’s being done for other cancers. If we get awareness raised, that’s huge.”

Wanamaker received an MPN diagnosis in 2015 – myelofibrosis, the most problematic of the MPN cancers. Despite the physical and cognitive issues that come with the disease, the 55-year-old is leveraging years’ worth of experience to become a knife sharpener. “I learned the value of consistency and angle and geometry. It stuck with me, and I want to sink my teeth into this.”

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There is one cure for myelofibrosis with a 50% success rate, but it requires rigorous pre-qualification testing which Wanamaker was unable to pass. In the face of the harsh reality of his prognosis, Wanamaker hopes another member of the knife community will pick up the reigns for future Blades Against MPN fundraisers if he no longer can. “I don’t know if I’ll be physically capable of doing it. Hopefully, I am and can take the whole thing on. If not I’d love to see somebody pick it up and run with it.”

The Blades Against MPN raffle drawings occur on July 5th. Tickets are $75 and a total of one hundred and ten spots are available.

Knife featured in image: Spyderco Gayle Bradley 2