Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Alliance Board Member Visits Russia

Following is a report from Dave Murphy who visited Russia after attending the annual meeting of the Connective Tissue Oncology Society meeting in London.
While on vacation in Europe I visited Katerina Kiseleva, Executive Director of Parents and Children Against Cancer (CAPAC) http://www.capac.ru/ in St. Petersburg Russia. Katerina arranged for me to visit the pediatric cancer ward at City Hospital #31, Dept of Pediatric Oncology/Hematology. Picture is of me with Dr. Margarita Belogurova, head of the department (note Sarcoma Alliance brochures and 'Sarcoma Knows No Borders' wristbands on the desk).

We also visited the National Scientific Research Institution of Oncology. Picture is of me with Dr. Yuriy Punanov, head of their pediatric department.

I talked about the CTOS conference, and the iSPAN meeting before the conference. The obvious first question I was asked was "you only do this for people in your countries, don't you?" and my response was that the SA programs and services are for ANYONE with sarcoma in ANY country, and also that the efforts of other sarcoma organizations raising funds for research would benefit sarcoma patients worldwide.

Each of them allowed me to be escorted into the wards and meet each child in the ward. I met a few sarcoma patients, osteosarcoma, both recent amputees, and talked with some of the doctors in the ward. I gave out California calendars and Halloween candy and briefly spoke with the children and parents in each room (with Katya translating).

I asked the doctors about the types of sarcoma patients they see. They didn't really answer me, so I asked if they see patients with rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing's sarcoma, chondrosarcoma, synovial sarcoma, peripheral nerve sheath tumors, etc.. The doctors were surprised I knew the specific sarcoma types, because they see patients with each of those types.

Children and Parents Against Cancer is an organization that helps ALL pediatric cancer patients. On each visit Katerina brought her organizations brochures and some gifts. She explained how CAPAC provides some assistance to some of the families, and arranges for excursions for some of the children out of the hospital on short trips around St. Petersburg, and trips to other countries like Ireland http://www.barretstown.org/ and the US http://www.holeinthewallgang.org/ .

When I spoke of the sarcoma chat I was introduced to the person that answers Russia's pediatric cancer hotline.Overall I was well received by everyone I met and I felt they were surprised that I was interested in visiting their facilities.

Then I started playing the tourist. The next picture is of me in the garden of Catherine the Great's Palace at Pushkin outside St. PetersburgDave Murphy


The Johnson Family said...

Simply amazing! Dave, thank you for all that you do!

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Allison said...

Thank you for sharing Dave. Amazing, scary and enlighting. Your my hero, keep up the good work.