Latest News and Events

Introducing New Board Members

The following new members were elected to the RIS Board of Directors at the January 29 Annual Meeting:

New Board Members- 2017

Ted Erickson, Tom McCarthy, Chelsey Olafson, Denis Clohisy, MD

Chelsey Olafson, is a sarcoma survivor . She helms the RIS Facebook Page and serves on the Patient and Family Support and PR/Marketing Committees. Chelsey will also be chairing the 2017 Party in the Park.

Thomas McCarthy, is a CPA and MBA and a Accounting Policy and Research Consultant at Securian Financial Group. He received his MBA at the Carlson School of Management of the University of Minnesota. He will serve as the organization’s new treasurer.

Dr. Denis Clohisy, is a Professor and Chairman of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Minnesota and a member of the University of Minnesota Cancer Center. Dr. Clohisy has been a longtime supporter of RIS.

Deb Cossette, Deb’s husband is a sarcoma survivor. Deb serves on the PR Committee as the Website Master, and she has become a Salesforce expert. Recently retired from 3M, Deb is incredibly organized and committed to RIS’ vision and goals. She will serve as Rein in Sarcoma’s Vice-President.

Ted Erickson, is Vice Chair at Holiday Companies and will serve on the RIS Development Committee. He currently is also a board member at PACER and the Minnesota Land Trust.

Renewing their leadership commitment to RIS for a second three-year term are Larry Seymour, MD and sarcoma survivor, Allan Swartz.

Thank you to all the Board members who serve RIS!

Connie Dow – Welcome our new Administrative Assistant

Connie Dow and T. C. Bear

Connie and her puppy meet T.C. Bear

We are very pleased to announce that Connie Dow has accepted the position of Administrative Assistant.  Many of you already know Connie as she has been a RIS Volunteer for many years.  She has recently retired from the position of Director at Oak Meadows and is now going to help us further our sarcoma mission.  You will meet her at some of the committee meetings, at activities and as the first contact for new volunteers and patients.  Connie has had a lot of experience and will be of assistance to Rein in Sarcoma in many ways.  Connie lives with her partner, sarcoma survivor, Allan Swartz and their new puppy (her other retirement project).  Please welcome her when you see her.


Laura Gossett

Laura Gossett


Unfortunately gaining Connie means we are losing Laura Gossett who has served us in the position in many ways.  Even though she will be spending more time on her family we are so pleased that she is still going to volunteer for us.  Her particular interest is in supporting patients and their families and she will remain on the Patient and Family Support Committee.  When you see her please thank her for the many hours of work she has done on behalf of all of us.

Genetic Testing – Larry Seymour, MD

genetic testingA few days ago I was sitting in my favorite hospital coffee shop breaking my morning fast (after a test) and heard two people walking by say: “Genes are everything”. Yes, they are, particularly in cancer.

We are all born with about 20,000 genes, and this is our “germ line”. Each gene has its location on the strand of DNA. Genetic testing is used to check this DNA strand for variants which might predispose to cancer as in some kinds of breast cancer. This testing is done with saliva, or a cheek swab or a blood sample. No doubt you’ve seen testing like that on TV.

Genomic testing is done to find the gene changes that have occurred during life due to sun exposure, or tobacco smoke among many factors, some unknown. Most of these changes don’t cause problems, but certainly the two mentioned do. Testing is done the same way.

Genomic profiling tests cancer cells for the DNA changes that have occurred just in the cancer itself. Testing reveals gene abnormalities that cause cancer growth, but it turns out there are many abnormalities in some cancers. This testing is not routinely done for three reasons: 1) It frequently doesn’t give information anyone can act on at this time; 2) It is very expensive (sticker shock is the word); 3) The routine process of testing the cancer in the lab after surgery destroys the DNA in the cancer so this tissue is now not usable for this specialized testing.

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