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July 5, 2007

Across the world, people ‘virtually’ come together to fight sarcoma; Ann Arbor event set for July 7

ANN ARBOR, MI In France, they’re holding a run on Bastille Day. In Japan, they’re planning a special memorial. In Vermont, they’re biking through the Lake Champlain area. Around the globe, thousands of people are coming together in various ways to raise awareness of and funds for sarcoma, a rare cancer of the connective tissue. In Ann Arbor, the community will participate in this worldwide initiative with a walk through the Diag July 7.

Sarcoma StrollU-M Team Sarcoma Strollis being planned by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, University Students Against Cancer and the Berry Patch Foundation. The event begins at 10 a.m. with refreshments and a presentation on sarcoma by James Geiger, M.D., U-M associate professor of surgery. At 10:30, participants will begin a 1K to 5K “stroll” around central campus.

As participants make there way around the course, signs will be posted with information about sarcoma.

“We take care of a lot of these patients here and I think that this lets them and their families know that in addition to wanting to take care of them clinically, we’re raising the larger issue of raising research dollars and efforts that go into it,” says Geiger, a pediatric cancer surgeon.

The stroll participants will be joined by 50 other sarcoma awareness events happening in 13 countries and 21 states all with varying events revolving around sarcoma awareness.

U-M Health System nurse practitioner Denise Reinke, who works with sarcoma patients, attended the main event in Denmark last year.

“It was fun to be part of this collective group that recognized this is a disease affecting people of all ages and in different ways. Although sarcoma is not as common as other cancers, it still affects many people,” Reinke says. “Events like this show we need to collaborate not just in the United States but beyond those borders to further research and awareness.”

Sarcomas are cancers of connective tissues, including bones, tendons, blood vessels and muscle. Among adult cancers, sarcomas comprise around 1 percent, but among children, sarcomas make up 15 percent to 20 percent of all cancers. Geiger says that events such as Team Sarcoma Stroll are important for cancer awareness in general.

“Despite the fact that cancer kills around 600,000 people in the United States every year, our country does not see cancer as a major health care priority. There have been no significant increases in funding over the last year,” says Geiger.

Pre-registration for the Team Sarcoma Stroll is encouraged. For more information about sarcoma and pre-registration for the U-M Team Sarcoma Stroll, please contact the U-M Cancer AnswerLine 800-865-1125. For more information on events worldwide, go to www.sarcomahelp.net/.

U-M Team Sarcoma Stroll
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, July 7
Where: University of Michigan Diag, Central Campus, east of State Street, between N. University and S. University, Ann Arbor
What: 1K to 5K non-competitive walk

Written by: Nicole Fawcett

 

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