PMC 2016 Heavy Hitter Evening, A Huge Success
by Meredith Beaton Starr
On Friday May 6, 650 PMC Heavy Hitters attended a special evening honoring Dr. Edward Benz for his 16 years at the helm of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and hearing about how the funds raised by PMC riders have enabled physician/scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to be world leaders in oncology research and treatment.
This blockbuster evening is always a favorite for riders and teams. It gives people a chance to catch up with old friends, meet new ones and get inspired to start training and fundraising for this year’s PMC!
Billy shared a “PMC State of the Union” including that for 2016, we are looking at record numbers — both registered riders and fundraising to date are up 5%! The audience was thrilled to hear that Harpoon will be making a new beer called 192 and a new 192 wine is coming out in late May. Our PMC office expansion is underway and after 18 years we will be expanding from 5, 200 to 12,000 square feet!
Our evening program centered on the work of three DFCI physician /scientists and PMC riders who shared stories of the work they do and how the funds we raise impact them in their roles as clinicians, researchers and leaders in their respective fields. They each spoke about the powerful difference that the PMC makes in the fight against cancer and how your fundraising advances the work in cutting-edge cancer research and care at DFCI, much of which is not funded by federal grants or insurance reimbursements.
Dr. Dan DeAngelo shared how PMC funds covered expenses such as equipment, staff and made up the difference in grant money to continue crucial experiments in hematology and groundbreaking experiments in the lab. He cited numerous examples of where PMC money was used to keep labs open and keep experiments running and fill the gap that translates to directly improving the lives of patients.
Dr. Ann Partridge spoke about PMC funds being responsible for starting a program for young women with breast cancer and providing seed money to support new and innovative directions for research and care. She shared how PMC funds also provide critical services that are not money makers and fostering research that is not easily funded. The work being done in the survivorship clinic addresses how to deliver better, more comprehensive care to help people to manage the aftermath of cancer, including how to manage and prevent long-term side effects and improve health behaviors.
Dr. Matt Davids talked about his discovery of a new drug, Venclexta, for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia that just received FDA approval in April. This drug will be used in a multi center trial and has the potential to transform the way that patients with CLL and other lymphomas are treated. Dr. Davids also talked about one of his patients who comes out on the PMC route every year to cheer him on and the difference that was made in her quality of life and her treatment because of funds raised by PMC.
Finally, Dr. David Nathan, President of Dana- Farber Cancer Institute from 1995- 2000 and former chief of Pediatrics and Hematology and Oncology at Children’s Hospital, spoke about how much has changed since he was a young resident at Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Nathan worked alongside Dr. Sidney Farber and was an early pioneer in treating inherited blood disorders in children. He also shared with the audience that the legacy of DFCI President Dr. Edward Benz will be far reaching on every level.
Over the last 16 years Dr Benz has appeared at no less than 40 PMC functions. His degree of knowledge and intimacy with the PMC base — on top of his DFCI responsibilities — is impressive and sincere. As the leader of DFCI, he has essentially tripled Dana-Farber’s impact in Boston and around the Globe. He has made the Institute a model for cancer care and a place where the most talented and passionate people in the world want to work. Dr. Benz speaks often about the special sauce — — this unique feeling that patients and families experience when they come to Dana Farber.
We at the PMC are so grateful for his longstanding and steadfast leadership and support! And we thank all PMC’ers for their contributions towards making DFCI the outstanding institution that it is!
View entire PMC Heavy Hitter Evening photo gallery HERE