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Volunteer Spotlight: Tom Boardman

Tom and Susie Boardman, daughter Andrea and grandson Levi
Tom and Susie Boardman, daughter Andrea and grandson Levi at the Fall Fundraiser

When Tom Boardman learned that his twelve-year-old grandson, Levi, was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma cancer, he wanted to step in and take the pain away. Family and friends of sarcoma patients know this feeling well. “I could not take the chemo for my grandson. Neither could I have the surgery he was going to need or go through all the tests,” Tom says. But he knew there were other ways to make a meaningful difference. “I found RIS, and I said, This is it—I’m going to get involved, for Levi and for others like him.”

This year marks Tom’s third year of volunteering with RIS. He serves as Chair of the Rein in Sarcoma Development Committee and is active in the Fall Fundraiser, the golf event, and the bike ride fundraiser. Tom recommends volunteering with RIS because “you can have a lot of fun in the process, and there is tremendous flexibility. Like many volunteer activities you will get much more out of it than you put in.”

Giving back seems to come naturally to Tom. He dedicates his time and skills to causes important to him, such as his church, education, and social justice—and now, sarcoma cancer. His most recent recognitions for volunteerism and service include the 2020 College of Wooster John D. McKee Alumni Volunteer Award and the Lifetime Leadership Award from Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services.

“My motivation has been my grandson, his future, and the futures of all sarcoma patients. So little is known of these ‘orphan’ cancers that it takes a real special and focused effort to draw attention to them. Successfully achieving that gives me hope for the future.”

Read the list of volunteer activities in his bio and you would think he was a full-time volunteer, chair, and board member! But Tom is actually an attorney, retired in 2010 from in-house counsel at 3M after thirty-seven years, and currently working at the law firm Barnes and Thornburg. He is also an active exerciser through Liftbridge CrossFit and travels extensively (he has visited all fifty states and over fifty countries!).Tom and his wife, Susie, have been married nearly forty-eight years. They cherish time with family (four children and eleven grandchildren) and enjoy traveling together. 

Rein in Sarcoma is grateful for Tom and all of our volunteers who dedicate their passion and time to supporting families, educating the medical community, and raising funds for research to find a cure for sarcoma cancers.

SARC’s Sarcoma Research Advocacy Council

Miranda Mead (center front row) represents Rein in Sarcoma on SARC’s Sarcoma Research Advocacy Council

Article by Miranda Mead

On October 10-11, 2019, I attended a Sarcoma Research Advocacy Council meeting through SARC in Detroit. There I met many fantastic people who have stories similar to mine. Most of the advocates had experienced some form of sarcoma or other cancer. On Thursday we were able to get to know each other and share our stories at a dinner and reception. We discussed our personal cancer stories and our motivation for attending.

The next day the conference was held from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm. The first thing discussed was the importance of the patient perspective in cancer research. Having a patient’s voice in cancer research helps focus on what is truly important. Clinical research in sarcoma was a large area of focus. We discussed the challenges in sarcoma clinical research since it is considered a rare cancer. We learned about the clinical process and the grueling ins and outs of how difficult the process truly is. There are nine failures for one successful drug approved. It takes roughly 12-14 years for a clinical trial to reach drug approval, equating to roughly billions of dollars spent. We also learned how to capture the essence of the patient journey, how to effectively tell our story in front of different audiences, or stakeholders. We then talked about ongoing plans for the SARC council which include online video conference calls.

This was an amazing opportunity and I learned so much about the importance of being an advocate. I discovered the next steps I can take as an advocate for childhood cancer– being a research advocate for sarcoma cancers. Overall, I came away with a great sense of hope as so many passionate individuals gathered to make a difference in the sarcoma community.

Miranda (right) with fellow Research Advocates

Year-end Opportunity to Make a Difference

Thank you to all who donated in support of Rein in Sarcoma's mission at year-end. We raised over $23,000 and met the challenge match.

As the year comes to an end, we reflect on the power of connection and the impact of our mission. We are excited to announce a $10,000 challenge match made possible by several generous RIS donors and our Board of Directors. Help us reach our $40,000 year-end goal!

This has been an extraordinary year for Rein in Sarcoma, as we continue to expand our educational programs, patient and family support work, and sarcoma research funding. Please take a moment to read the compelling story of Sarcoma Patient Advocate and Rein in Sarcoma volunteer, Kara Dolney. A true advocate, she is committed to easing the journey of other sarcoma patients and raising awareness of sarcoma cancer.

Kara Dolney - thumbs up



Kara's business card "Warrior for Sarcoma"

Giving back, extending a hand to another, walking alongside them - this is Kara’s mission. Rein In Sarcoma shares in this mission, as does the entire sarcoma community. As too many of us know the impact of a delay in diagnosis, all of us patients, survivors, families, volunteers, and supporters are the team cheering patients on and supporting our threefold mission of patient support, research, and education. Kara reminds us, “It’s hard to know exactly where the finish line is, but we’re going to do this.”

While you plan your end-of-year giving, help us continue taking one step at a time by making a financial donation to our year-end campaign. The Rein In Sarcoma Board of Directors and anonymous RIS community members will match all year-end donations up to $10,000. We invite you to take advantage of this opportunity to double your impact. We can do so much together.

You may want to consider a gift of stock, or other tax advantage giving strategy - see Charitable Gift Strategies.

Each time we fund a research project, educate a physician, or support a patient you help change the sarcoma story. Donate Now!

Check back here on the progress towards reaching our goal (includes donation match).

$23,335 of our $40,000 goal!

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