Winter Gathering Brings Community Support and Learning

2019 Winter Gathering Cake

Rein in Sarcoma’s Winter Gathering took place on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at Bachman’s Lyndale Garden Center. Leading the event, President, Blake Hastings, introduced the event by highlighting Rein in Sarcoma’s mission and key programs.

Rein in Sarcoma has an Educational Program called Red Flags of Sarcoma with the goal to, “Educate [the] public and medical community about early warning signs” about Sarcoma cancers. Thanks to the Barbara Bradley Baekgaard Family Foundation for a generous $100,000 donation in 2016, the Hallie Anne Brown Educational Initiative has helped inform doctors about the early on-set warning signs of Sarcoma. Similarly, Rein in Sarcoma recently approved $150,000 to fund grants for three research proposals at the University of Minnesota to efficiently treat Sarcoma’s.

Blake Hastings, RIS President

Blake Hastings, RIS President

Elvis Francios, MD - The Singing Surgeon

Dr. Elvis François – The Singing Surgeon with attendees

Elvis François, MD the Singing Surgeon from Mayo Clinic Rochester gave a moving performance which inspired all in attendance. He reminded us music heals, and we can move mountains together. You can listen to Dr. François and the rest of the program on our Facebook Page.

Survivor and Fighters Photo

Survivors and Fighters Photo

Jacalyn See, MS RDN, LD, Mayo Clinic Assistant Professor, began the education portion of the program as she discussed the importance of nutrition for cancer survivors. She stressed the importance of a plant-based diet since plants have fiber, zinc, magnesium, and are low in fats and calories. Furthermore, plants are loaded with antioxidants, which according to Dr. See, “block damaging chemical reactions that can lead to cancer.” See also suggested limiting red meat intake. However, “those eating 18 ounces of red meat a week have the same cancer rates as vegetarians.” Some easy ways to cut down on eating red meat would be switching to shell fish or fish. If you do enjoy red meat, limit it to three-ounce servings.

The second speaker was Kris Ann Schulz, MD who is a pediatric oncologist at Children’s Minneapolis. She is the principle investigator of the international Pleuropulmonary Blastoma (PPB) registry. PPB is a cancer that affects the lungs of mostly newborn children. Her research involves connecting the DICER1, found on chromosome 14, mutation and its relation to PPB. According to National Health Institutes, the DICER 1 is a, “gene [that] provides instructions for making a protein that plays a role in regulating the activity… of other genes” (DICER1 gene). There are three different types of PPB. Type one PPB has a survival rate of 90%, whereas type two has a 74%, and at type three there is a 53% chance of survival. This cancer is genetic. The international PPB registry was founded in 1988 at Children’s. They have enrolled over 700 individuals in 49 countries and six continents and are making monumental strides in increasing awareness about this type of sarcoma.

The final speaker was Beau Webber, PhD, Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota, who talked about Ewings Sarcoma. His research consists of studying tumors that are removed from humans and deposited into mice so that different treatments can be tested. Dr. Webber’s main goal is to use stem cell models to study Sarcomas. Stem cells can turn into other cell types that have specialized functions. Stem cells can copy themselves repeatedly. With genetic engineering, researchers can create the driving genetic alterations from tissues that can be generated in the lab using stem cells.

2019 Winter Gathering Hank and granddaughter

Hank and granddaughter

Miranda and Julie Mead

Miranda and Julie Mead

Enjoying conversion

Enjoying conversion

Overall the Winter Gathering was very beneficial to survivors and fighters as it brought everyone closer together. The constant message throughout the gathering was you are not alone. Survivors and fighters shared their sarcoma stories. Hope resonated throughout Bachman’s at the end of the Winter Gathering.

Article by Miranda Mead