Climbing the 1,500-plus stairs of the Empire State Building was the least Nate Poulin could do.

Same attitude applies for Andrew and Katie Magoun, parents of two children, who moved their family to Portland, switching careers in the process. The move was an easy decision.

After all, what would be your response if your father had incurable cancer?

About two years ago, Michael Poulin, 56, of Winslow, was diagnosed with smoldering multiple myeloma, a rare form of an incurable cancer that affects the white blood cells, specifically in the bone marrow. The prognosis for those who have this type of cancer continues to improve, but the average survival rate from the disease is about five to six years.

Poulin’s children and his son-in-law would soon respond to their dad’s illness by starting a local organization in Portland – ME Against Myeloma.

The effort has not only raised thousands of dollars for research and advocacy, but it has also brought an already close family closer together.


It started with a cancer diagnosis and those 1,500-plus stairs, which Nate Poulin will climb again Wednesday.

Lifelong residents of Winslow and high school sweethearts, Michael and Kathy Poulin married and raised their two children, Nate and Katie, in Winslow.

By 2011, Nate was living in New York City with a job as a planning manager for an online men’s apparel store and Katie was busy raising a family in a suburb of Washington, D.C., and the Poulins were enjoying their Smiley Avenue home of more than 30 years.

But one thing always lingered on Poulin’s mind – his health.

“My family has a history of cancer,” Poulin said. “My grandmother, mother and her two sisters died of cancer. I had a brother who died of cancer, and another brother who had prostate cancer, but is in remission.”

Sitting in his living room, legs crossed, Poulin, 56, who has worked at the Office of the State Auditor for 34 years, looks healthy. He kept himself in good shape by going to the gym multiple times a week, and visited a doctor every six months to a year, just in case.


Then, Poulin was diagnosed with multiple cases of shingles, a painful rash caused by a virus. Tests at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care in Augusta and at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston led to the diagnosis of high-risk smoldering multiple myeloma in January 2012.

For Michael’s daughter Katie and her husband Andrew Magoun, the diagnosis spurred a move to Maine, where all the family can now be together often to enjoy the pair’s growing family.


But for Nate Poulin, 30, in New York City, moving home to be near his father was not an option. That’s why when he found that multiple Myeloma Research Foundation was the sponsor for the Empire State Building Run-Up – the annual climb up the Empire State Building’s 1,576 steps – it was the perfect match for the former Winslow High School hockey star.

He had to raise $2,500 for the charity to ensure a spot in the race. He raised $3,300 and participated last year, climbing 86 stories in just more than 28 minutes.

“That’s the type of person Nate is; he’s caring,” Michael Poulin said. “In actuality, my daughter and son-in-law got equally involved, starting the ME Against Myeloma campaign.”


Andrew Magoun took the reins in Maine, starting the ME Against Myeloma campaign out of Portland, signing the family up for area road races and triathlons to help raise money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

In 2013, the family took part in nearly a dozen races in Maine. The Poulin and Magoun families raised more than $10,000 for MMRF in 2013, while, on Wednesday, Nate Poulin is ready to climb the Empire State Building’s stairs all over again.

Jesse Scardina can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

Twitter: @jessescardina

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