Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Assistance Fund – A Note of Thanks from Drake’s Parents

by Arthur Beckert

We recently received a letter from a grant recipient from our Assistance Fund. This fund helps pay for second opinions from sarcoma specialists.

"As the parents of a teen diagnosed with sarcoma, we wanted to make the very best medical decisions for our son, but when we received conflicting opinions about his care my husband and I felt so helpless. This was our child’s life, and we didn’t know who to trust. Ultimately, we chose to seek out a synovial sarcoma specialist whose practice focused on teens and young adults. While our insurance company wouldn’t cover our visit to Dana Farber in Boston, there was no question that this was what we needed to give us peace of mind—and that’s exactly what we got. Thanks to our visit with Doctor Albritton, we felt that Drake’s prognosis was good enough to forego chemotherapy and finally move on with our lives. The trip to Boston also enabled us to visit Harvard and MIT and dream about a future where anything was possible. We are so grateful to the Sarcoma Alliance, not only for the grant that helped to cover the costs of our visit, but also for all the information and support we received on the Web site. You were definitely a source of hope during an extremely difficult time."

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Support Across the Americas

         Please check out two stories about sarcoma (here and here) in the Tampa Tribune today. One mentions Gustavo Davila, whose son, Alex, died of osteosarcoma. Gustavo arranged the first international conference on bone sarcomas last month in Ecuador, drawing doctors from South and North America.
         Gustavo also founded Jovenes Contra El Cancer (Young People Against Cancer).  I (Suzie) had the honor of attending a ceremony last week, marking the second anniversary of its founding in Quito, the capital. An orchestral quartet played in the Government Palace auditorium before dignitaries, including a representative of the president, gave speeches and pinned medals on about 40 young survivors.
         As the invitation said (in Spanish): "When generals return from war, they receive medals. ... When the young warriors against cancer fight day after day ... what do they receive?"
        Because I can't translate that well, I'll quote one English-speaker: Douglas Letson, an orthopedic surgeon in charge of sarcoma at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, who taught at the conference and spoke at the ceremony.
        "This is just the beginning for the children of Ecuador to get the care they need. I'm here for the children of Ecuador!" he said, his voice full of emotion.
        The next day, Leslie Schipani-Anderson of the Moffitt Foundation spoke on "social marketing," encouraging people to financially support nonprofits that improve society.
        I hope that survivors can continue to exchange ideas across borders.