The 2019 Party in the Park planning got off to a great start at Surly Brewery, Co. on March 18. Many attendees enjoyed social time with a tour of brewery prior to the official Kickoff. Even those supporters who could not attend in person were able to watch the live stream of the Kickoff on the Rein in Sarcoma Facebook page.
Amy Hoban and Allison Mulcahy, our Event Co-chairs, ‘kicked off’ the official Party in the Park planning. Each member of the Party Leadership team shared the activities of their sub-committees, which include Logistics, Picnic, Registration, Merchandise, Raffle, Auction, Marketing, Volunteer Coordination, Luminaries, Concessions, Ring Toss and Garden of Hope. To highlight a few areas:
On Saturday, March 16th the 2018-19 Rein in Sarcoma Scholars hosted a celebration to thank their mentors, sponsors and Rein in Sarcoma leaders at Camp Sacajawea Retreat Center in Lebanon Hills Regional Park. Over the past 10 years, 39 sarcoma scholars from the University of MN and Mayo Medical Schools have worked together and separately to educate their fellow students and the public about sarcoma cancers. This education consists of the warning signs of sarcoma, achieving a proper and timely diagnosis, and treatment options. The celebration included lively conversations, a 10-year slide show review, and an initial report on the impact and the success of the scholar program.
The 2018-19 class of scholars include Taylor Weiskittel, Mylan Blomquist (Mayo) Colleen Bell, Alexander Kuhne and Kyle Lau (University of Minnesota). The honored guests were: Dr. Kathryn Dusenbery, who conceived of and has organized the Sarcoma Scholar Program since 2009 and Dr. Scott Okuno, mentor of the Mayo Scholars since Mayo was added to the program in 2014.
Jan and Tim Maudlin, who sponsor the Sarcoma Scholar program through the RIS Jan Maudlin Named Fund, attended as very special quests - the scholars were anxious to meet their sponsors and particularly wanted to thank them in person. Jan, a sarcoma survivor, and Tim believe educating future physicians is an important contribution to the quality of care for future generations of sarcoma patients.
Attending RIS leaders were Executive Director - Janelle Calhoun, Board Vice President - Lisa Griebel (also a survivor), Naomi Bowman - Health Programs Coordinator, and Sue and Pete Wyckoff, RIS co-founders (Sue also chairs the Red Flags Education Committee).
This year’s scholars surveyed the former scholars to find out where they are, their chosen medical career path, and what aspects of the Sarcoma Scholar Program were valuable to them. So far, over 50% have completed the survey. Many good ideas were generated in a lively discussion of how to strengthen and increase the educational impact of the program. We are excited to see the next ten years unfold, as the first 39 RIS Sarcoma Scholars move into their medical careers and the next generation continues to educate and raise awareness about sarcoma cancer.
Neither rain, sleet, nor snow deterred our University of Minnesota Sarcoma Scholars, Alex Kuhne and Colleen Bell, from arranging an informational lecture for their medical school peers. After having to reschedule twice because of the inclement weather, the UMN-Twin Cities lecture was held on March 12. Dr. Katie Dusenbery gave a very informative lecture on sarcoma – how to diagnose it and the importance of getting the diagnosis quickly and correctly to improve the outcomes for patients.
She was followed by college freshman, Miranda Mead, who told of the agonizingly long time she was improperly treated and waited for an accurate diagnosis. After several months, her mother asked for an MRI and Miranda was diagnosed with Stage IV Ewing Sarcoma. Miranda completed her treatment two and a half years ago and is now disease free. The students listened attentively while enjoying pizza. The RIS Red Flags Education Committee provided each student with a golf ball with the red flags of sarcoma attached and asked them to fill out a survey on their thoughts of the golf ball as an educational tool.
A few days earlier on March 7, scholar Kyle Lau organized a sarcoma lecture at the University of Minnesota Duluth Medical School. Dr. Christian Ogilvie presented the sarcoma lecture and answered questions. Sarcoma survivor, Annette Bonaventura told the story of her long road to receiving an accurate diagnosis. She talked about having sarcoma in both her leg and arm and her ongoing work to regain as much function as possible.
The students were engaged throughout the evening. During the lectures they enjoyed a wonderful dinner from Kyle’s family’s restaurant. Following the lecture they stayed to talk with Dr. Ogilvie and Annette and to seek more information about sarcoma and the scholar application process. They also received the red flags of sarcoma golf balls. Both events were well received and we are grateful to Thrivent for providing grants to pay for the food.
Our Mayo Sarcoma Scholars are working to arrange an April sarcoma luncheon in Rochester.