Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday Musings

On this Monday, I thought I would try to relate three seemingly unrelated events over the past few days.

Last Friday evening, we were invited to a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society discussion about blood cancer research and how LLS plays its role. The event included a delicious dinner donated by Morton’s Steak House in Richmond, and also gave everyone a chance to socialize before and during dinner. A presentation was made by Deborah Banker, PhD, who is Vice President for Research Communications for LLS. Dr. Banker is an expert on blood cancer research, having worked at Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. She discussed several different specific researchers among the 400 currently sponsored by LLS, and the development of such drugs as Gleevec and Rutuxin. She showed us graphs that clearly demonstrated that the five year survivorship of all major blood cancers is up dramatically. Even one as difficult to treat as multiple myeloma has gone from 12 percent survivorship 40 years ago to 36 percent now. Dr. Banker stressed the importance of continuing to raise money for cancer research, and how many advances in blood cancers lead directly to advances in other cancers as well. With Federal funding down for cancer research, other sources such from organizations like LLS are even more important.

Early the very next morning, I was up before 6AM to go greet the Richmond TNT marathon team for the Nike (San Francisco) and US Marine Corps (Washington, DC) marathons. These dedicated people, including their coaches and mentors, have been giving up their Saturdays for months now, and working very hard to train for their marathon while raising money for LLS. I spoke to them about Dr. Banker’s talk from the previous night, and how important what they are doing is – and how much cancer patients appreciate them. I did a water stop / SAG wagon at the 4 mile point and got to cheer them on. GO TEAM!

Last night, I checked some blogs that I follow and learned that the four year old daughter of the best friend of one of the bloggers was just diagnosed with leukemia. The family, while ready to fight, is scared and devastated about what their daughter must endure.

Three separate events – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. How are they related? People doing Team in Training, with all their hard work, are raising money for LLS. LLS provides dollars to researchers, who come up with enhanced understandings of how cancers work, and how to defeat them. And children like little Ashley, just diagnosed, has a tough fight ahead but a fighting chance to survive and lead a happy, healthy life.

So if you do Team in Training, and wonder sometimes why you do it, that’s why!


Ashley said...

Great post! Any time I watch a video at a kick off meeting, inspiration dinner, etc...I know why I chose to participate with TNT. Can't keep a dry eye during any of those tear-jerking videos!

Racn4acure said...

Thanks Ashley. Those are compelling aren't they? I hate to learn of little children getting sick. But like those videos, it is a constant reminder of while I keep doing TNT. Art