Michele Fountain

For Michele Fountain, a second-year cyclist in the Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Sibley Memorial Hospital, Suburban Hospital and Howard County General Hospital, there is more than one reason why she gears up and rides. Having worked at Johns Hopkins for over 30 years—12 of which have been spent within the Kimmel Cancer Center—Michele feels compelled to ride. “It’s been a privilege to be a part of the Cancer Center’s family,” she says. “I’ve met so many dedicated people working hard each day to change the course of cancer, and I feel like I want to give back. This is the way to do it.”

Michele is also motivated for a more personal reason. “I lost my husband to cancer three years ago,” she says. “He was a patient at the Cancer Center for many years, and it was through his care and treatment here that I truly learned to appreciate the commitment of the physicians, the nurses and the staff. They have all been an inspiration to me, and I’ll be forever grateful.”

Having successfully completed her first two-day, 150-mile ride at the inaugural event last fall, Michele is even more committed to the cause now. “In the second year riding, I think I’m addicted. The 2014 ride was probably one of the most rewarding, challenging experiences of my life,” she says.

Of course, no matter how deeply connected one may be to the fight to conquer cancer, there is no denying that the ride is a challenge. From the physical training process to mastering the intricacies of fundraising, Michele asserts that it’s challenging. “But once you have the mindset that it’s a ride, not a race, and you’ve got all of these amazing people riding with you of all ages—some survivors, some expert cyclists and some just like me—that makes all the difference.”

In addition to the physical challenge of the event, the $2,500 minimum fundraising requirement for each rider can certainly seem intimidating at first. But Michele, who successfully raised over $9,000 toward last year’s event, offers this advice: “If you reach out to everyone you know—professionally, personally, your family and friends—and share a little bit of your story, that really hits home for people. This is something that impacts everyone, and there’s camaraderie in that.”

As for this year’s event, which takes place on Sept. 19 and 20, 2015, Michele is more motivated than ever. “I want to be part of this team,” she says. “We are all working toward the same goal of conquering cancer. I know in my heart that we are getting closer every day. It might not be in my lifetime, but it will hopefully be in my children’s and grandchildren’s lifetime, so to be a part of the ride is an honor to me.”

And for those who may still be on the fence about accepting the challenge to conquer cancer together, Michele shares these words: “I just can’t express how rewarding it was to get to that finish line. I knew in my mind that I wanted to do it, that was my goal. But 150 miles? That was an amazing feeling.”

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
5 Comments

Overlea High SchoolOn March 26, 2015, a committed group of students at Overlea High School proudly presented the Kimmel Cancer Center with the funds they had raised to support the Breast Cancer Program and the patients and families whom it benefits. Under the guidance of their teacher, Mrs. Mary Demski, the students worked together to plan multiple fundraising events, including hosting a walk-a-thon on the school’s track and creating pink bracelets and t-shirts to help raise funds and awareness across the Overlea campus. Even the faculty and staff got involved in showing their support for the innovative research in breast cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship that is taking place here at Johns Hopkins, donning pink t-shirts to help raise awareness for this cause and for the students’ efforts. Together, the students raised over $550 to help provide support to patients and families who are affected by breast cancer when they need it most. Thanks to the inspiring dedication of these students, our clinicians and scientists are one step closer to fulfilling our promise towards progress in conquering this difficult disease.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
No Comments

We've asked our staff to share their thoughts on the PBS documentary, Cancer: Emperor of All Maladies. This week, we'll post their comments, including how they hope it will influence the public dialogue on cancer, research and treatment.

Ephraim Fuchs, M.D., M.B.A., professor of oncology and immunology at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center shares his thoughts:Ephraim Fuchs

I hope that the documentary will show that there is no activity that better exemplifies the US Constitution’s principle of promoting the general welfare, than research, to alleviate the suffering of patients with cancer.
 
I hope that the documentary stimulates the initiation of a Manhattan project to cure cancer.

The six-hour documentary series that tells the story of cancer based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. The documentary, billed by its producers as one of the most comprehensive of its kind yet made, features several patient stories and interviews conducted with clinicians and scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
No Comments

We've asked our staff to share their thoughts on the PBS documentary, Cancer: Emperor of All Maladies. This week, we'll post their comments, including how they hope it will influence the public dialogue on cancer, research and treatment.

Terry LangbaumTerry Langbaum, MHS, Chief Administrative Officer at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, shares her thoughts:

We are hoping that this documentary will raise awareness about the progress that has been made in treating and curing cancer over the last 50 years, and the hopeful and exciting era that is upon us for further gains in preventing, treating and curing cancer in the near future.
 
I’m hoping that it will focus public dialogue on the needs of cancer patients, including access to educational resources, psychosocial services and supportive care, and the challenges of cancer survivors as they go on to live healthy and productive lives beyond cancer.

The three-part, six-hour documentary series tells the story of cancer based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. The documentary, billed by its producers as one of the most comprehensive of its kind yet made, features several patient stories and interviews conducted with clinicians and scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
No Comments

We've asked our staff to share their thoughts on the PBS documentary, Cancer: Emperor of All Maladies. This week, we'll post their comments, including how they hope it will influence the public dialogue on cancer, research and treatment.

Vered StearnsVered Stearns, M.D., co-director of the Breast and Ovarian Cancer Program shares her thoughts:

Cancer is a spectrum of multiple illnesses. In some instances we have made substantial advances, and cures are possible. In other situations, cancer continues to be deadly. Regardless, cancer brings devastation and sorrow both to those diagnosed with the illness and to their loved ones. I hope that the PBS documentary will provide the public with an understanding of the complexity surrounding this malady and how intricate treatment decisions are. I hope to share our excitement for future individualized treatment and prevention strategies, and successful transitions to thrive beyond cancer.

Tune into PBS stations nationwide, March 30, 31 and April 1 to watch the three-part, six-hour documentary series that tells the story of cancer based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. The documentary, billed by its producers as one of the most comprehensive of its kind yet made, features several patient stories and interviews conducted with clinicians and scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
No Comments

We've asked our staff to share their thoughts on the PBS documentary, Cancer: Emperor of All Maladies. This week, we'll post their comments, including how they hope it will influence the public dialogue on cancer, research and treatment.

Pat Brown, M.D.Pediatric oncologist, Pat Brown, M.D. shares his thoughts:

"I hope it (the documentary) will inspire an unprecedented outpouring of support for cancer patients, caregivers and researchers. I believe it will empower people to talk more openly about cancer, and to question whether solving the problem of cancer should be higher on our list of priorities as a society."

Tune into PBS stations nationwide, March 30, 31 and April 1 to watch the three-part, six-hour documentary series that tells the story of cancer based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee. The documentary, billed by its producers as one of the most comprehensive of its kind yet made, features several patient stories and interviews conducted with clinicians and scientists at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
No Comments

There is good news today for lung cancer patients. The FDA has announced that it has approved expansion of the immunotherapy drug nivolumab (Opdivo) for certain lung cancer patients.

Julie Brahmer, M.D., oncologist at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and director of its Thoracic Oncology Program, is one of the leaders of the initial, first-in-human trial of nivolumab and ongoing clinical trials that the FDA reviewed in its decision today to approve nivolumab for advanced squamous cell lung cancer. She says, "This is an exciting development for lung cancer patients today. We're entering a new era of treatment, notably, the first time immunotherapy has shown improved survival outcomes compared to chemotherapy and the first time any type of immunotherapy for lung cancer has been approved. We hope it's the first step to more immune-targeted treatments for lung cancer patients."

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
4 Comments

PPRadiation copyThe latest issue of the Kimmel Cancer Center’s magazine Promise & Progress marks the 10th anniversary of the Department of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences.  Knifeless radiosurgery, proton beams, radiation sensitizing drugs, immune-stimulating therapies, informatics systems, efficiencies models, and inventions that move research forward and make treatments safer are a sampling of the exciting new cancer science and medicine detailed in this issue.

The issue also includes information on the latest research making headlines, new clinicians and scientists, honors and awards, and the generous donations that are helping us fight cancer.

Find Promise & Progress on the Kimmel Cancer Website and also search for it in “Newsstand” on the iPad.  Print copies can be requested by email at mehlva@jhmi.edu.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
No Comments

What better way to begin 2015 than with a nod to our scientists who, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), have led some of the past year's major achievements in clinical cancer research and care.

The research, in the immunotherapy and prostate cancer fields and led by Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and Brady Urological Institute scientists, was selected by the ASCO for inclusion in Clinical Cancer Advances 2015, the Society’s annual review of progress against cancer and emerging trends in the field.

Kimmel Cancer Center oncologist Julie Brahmer led research that was presented at the ASCO annual meeting and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology regarding a clinical trial of an anti-PD-L1 antibody for patients with lung cancer, adding to continued progress in the field of immunotherapy. In other news on the immunotherapy front, Kimmel scientist Drew Pardoll forecasts developments in immunotherapy in the American Association for Cancer Research blog, Catalyst.

According to results of a study led by Kimmel Cancer Center oncologist Emmanuel Antonarakis and Brady Urological Institute scientist Jun Luo, prostate cancer patients whose tumors contain a shortened receptor called AR-V7 are less likely to respond to two widely used drugs for metastatic prostate cancer. If large-scale studies validate the findings, the investigators say men with detectable blood levels of AR-V7 should avoid these two drugs and instead take other medicines to treat their prostate cancer. A report on the work was described online Sept. 3 in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at the ASCO annual meeting.

To learn more, read ASCO's report at www.cancerprogress.net/CCA.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
No Comments

matsie copy

One strand of brightly colored lights instantly uplifted the spirits of 17-year-old Matsie and cheered up her hospital room. Matsie, like many others young and old with cancer, would be spending the holidays in the hospital. Her father’s thought to buy her a small strand of lights transformed her stark white hospital room into a colorful display. It brought her so much joy that she decided all patients in the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center this Christmas should receive lights to decorate their rooms. Matsie and her family began calling local businesses and members of the community, asking if they would be able to donate 100 strands of Christmas lights to Johns Hopkins. Matsie’s goal was to receive 20 strands of lights, but to her surprise, within just two days, they were able to get 100 donations.

Matsie didn’t stop at strings of lights. She and her friends hand-decorated 100 gift bags, each with a handwritten note. She also included a special winter craft for patients to make.

Matsie worked with Jenny Seilier, a Kimmel Cancer Center child life specialist, who had the holiday bags delivered to patient rooms throughout the pediatric oncology unit and the entire Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Patients have been so grateful for their special bags that it inspired them to start a social media community using #matsieslightsoflove, where they share photos of their brightly decorated hospital rooms. Matsie has created her own social media pages for her “lights of love,” including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, where patients and family members can share photos. She also has set up a giving fund, with all proceeds going toward future supplies for gift bags. The fund already has received more than $1,000.

“The best part about this has been seeing and hearing how much the strands mean to the patients,” says Matsie. “I have received some really amazing cards and feedback on social media. It makes me happy that this really is impacting patients more than I ever imagined. It also has been wonderful seeing how much people have been willing to help. The entire experience has been overwhelmingly positive for everyone involved.”

View Matsie’s giving page to learn more.

VN:F [1.9.17_1161]
Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
No Comments