Mayo Sarcoma Scholars, Claire Cambron and Tessa St. Cyr had worked very hard to set up a sarcoma education day at Mayo Medical School on March 8th. Dr. Steven Robinson was to give a lecture to the first and second year students on Sarcoma diagnosis and treatment. Unfortunately that morning Dr. Robinson was called away.
Fortunately, a call to our first RIS Sarcoma Scholar, Dr. Brad Stish, who is now a radiation oncologist at Mayo was answered in the affirmative. He had his last patient of the morning scheduled for 11:45 and he said he would then run over and deliver the lecture. We sent him some slides from a previous lecture by Dr. Robinson to which he added some of his own thoughts. He arrived practically as soon as the students had served themselves lunch. He gave a very interesting lecture. The students listened attentively and then asked him some excellent questions.
Dr. Stish was followed by Judy Jones, a sarcoma survivor who told the story of her diagnosis. By the time she was diagnosed, the sarcoma tumor in her leg was quite large and it had metastasized to her lung. The doctors thought it was too large to remove and in too difficult a place to amputate so they began chemotherapy. On her fifth day of inpatient chemo, Judy’s femur fractured and the doctor on call, Dr. Frank Sim, removed the tumor and spared the limb. She had had several chemotherapy treatments and surgery to remove the tumor in her lung.
Judy is now five years cancer free and enjoying life to the fullest. The time for the lecture ran out after Judy’s talk; so ever flexible, Claire and Tessa told the students that they would tell them about their Sarcoma Scholar year by email. Claire and Tessa have done a good job of providing several cancer programs for the students, and they are planning a public lecture at the Rochester Public Library in June.
We want to thank Dr. Stish for all he has done in the nine years since he was a sarcoma scholar to help patients and bring awareness of sarcoma to the community. He is living proof of the idea Dr. Dusenbery, University of Minnesota Radiology Oncologist, had when she proposed the Sarcoma Scholar Program to the Rein in Sarcoma Board. She envisioned that the scholars would not only have a year of learning about and spreading information about sarcoma, but that they would have a career of bringing sarcoma to the attention of their peers. Since that 2009 beginning, the program has expanded to scholars from the University of Minnesota and Mayo Medical Schools, and involved 37 scholars.