A Fun Run to Address a Serious, Rare Form of Cancer
On Saturday, June 4, 2022, the orthopaedic oncology division at Montefiore was thrilled to return to a live event for its fifth Knock Out Sarcoma 5K Fun Run. The home-grown charity run was established by David Geller, M.D., Bang Hoang, M.D., and Rui Yang M.D., of Montefiore Einstein’s orthopaedic oncology division, with the aim of raising awareness of and support for the Musculoskeletal Oncology Laboratory at Montefiore and its efforts to pursue innovative research for sarcomas.
Sarcomas are rare forms of cancer that affect bones and connective tissue, such as nerves, muscles, cartilage, tendons, fat, and blood vessels, that can occur anywhere in the body. They can affect children and adults, and the division, together with other colleagues and providers, is dedicated to caring for patients with these diagnoses. The program is one of just a handful nationally that includes both an orthopaedic oncology fellowship and translational research laboratory focused on these forms of cancer.
Approximately 90 runners and walkers arrived in Van Cortlandt Park at 8:30 a.m. to participate in the fun run. They enjoyed good weather for their jaunt through the park while also contributing to important research and clinical efforts for individuals faced with a sarcoma cancer.
“The fun run offers an opportunity for colleagues, friends, patients, families, and community members to rally behind our work towards a cure for sarcoma, which often has limited therapeutic options,” noted Dr. Geller. “At Montefiore, we are committed to better understanding how these diseases develop and, more importantly, finding better treatments for our patients and beyond.”
Through funds raised at the annual event, which augments NIH and other support the Musculoskeletal Oncology Laboratory receives, Dr. Geller and his colleagues hope to identify new, more effective treatment options for cancers such as osteosarcoma and synovial sarcoma.
He added, “We donate a portion of what we raise to the national Sarcoma Strong Initiative, which provides grants to researchers conducting research of sarcoma. We also use the funds raised to provide important seed money for novel pilot projects in our lab, which we anticipate will grow into impactful projects in time. The event offers our local community an opportunity to learn about our work and to know that their support seeks to help both patients at Montefiore and beyond.”
Meeting the Challenges of a Pandemic
With the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the event shifted to being held virtually. Last year, it moved to hybrid, with both in-person and virtual participation possible. This year, the Knock Out Sarcoma Fun Run returned to Van Cortlandt Park in full force, not far from Montefiore’s Moses Campus. “It’s a fitting location, since it’s quite near where much of our work is done,” said Dr. Geller.
For those wondering how they can take part next year, you can mark your calendar ahead: the fun run is held the first Saturday of June each year. And for newbies or those preferring an easy run, the course is flat, though it will be timed, for those interested.
“Those still wanting to support the cause but preferring to take part virtually were able to do so,” added Alex Ferrena, an Einstein Ph.D. candidate who is conducting his thesis work in the lab. “We will likely include that option again since some people are more comfortable with that approach. And we want all who wish to participate to be able to do so.”
For more information on the event , visit the www.knockoutsarcoma-monte.com.
Posted on: Friday, June 17, 2022