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. 

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