Tag Archive | "Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center"

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The DCC is Almost Here: Prepare for Your Ride or Run

DCC.PrepYou’ve signed up, you’ve logged the training hours, and the big day—Saturday, February 20—is right around the corner. Taking on the Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC) to raise critical funds for cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center can be both an exciting and a challenging experience. Many of you have spent weeks or maybe even months training for this event. But the most important preparation should happen just days before. Here are a few tips about how best to prepare for the big day.

Seven days out, begin to taper off on your workouts. That week is all about resting your legs to make sure they’re ready to fire on all cylinders. Three days out, get your last good ride or run in. This gives you the confidence you’ll need. Two days out, it’s best to take the day off to store up all the energy you need in your legs. However, feel free to do a light workout the day before— just nothing too strenuous. But remember, save your energy because you’ll need it!

Pre-ride or run jitters often hit the night before, which can cut into your necessary sleep time. This is normal but keep in mind that the DCC is not a race and is meant to be a fun event. One day out, be sure to get enough sleep—a solid eight to 10 hours. This amount of sleep allows you to wake up with more than enough energy to get through the day.

When Saturday arrives, it’s time to fill up the tank. Fueling your body is a major key to success:


Regardless of what time your event starts, it’s wise to eat two to four hours beforehand. Great fuel consists of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, or complex carbohydrates. One to two hours before, eat a light snack such as low-fat yogurt or fruit. And just before you get ready to head out, fuel up with a quick piece of fruit or cup of fruit juice. These simple carbohydrates can give you a quick boost.


Since many will be pushing through a long ride, hydration is very important. Dehydration occurs quickly in the Miami heat and humidity, so fill up on the electrolytes and water throughout the ride and after the run. Another big key is fuel. Be sure to eat at the rest stops, whether it’s fruit, energy gels, cookies— you want to eat something to be sure you don’t hit a lull in your energy while on the road.


The ride or run is complete and you’ve pushed your body to its capacity. All your body wants to do is fill up the energy lost during the workout, so immediately after you finish, it is important to fuel yourself with a good meal. The best time to fuel up is within 15-20 minutes of completing the ride.

Although all these tips are very important to ensure your safety and success during the DCC ride or run, the most important tip to remember is to have fun! The DCC is a great event for participants of all ages to get out there and have a blast for a great cause—raising critical cancer research funds for Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

If you’re still not signed up yet, please visit TeamHurricanes.org.

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Senate Taps Two Faculty for Top Honors

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 3, 2015) — Two of the Miller School’s most esteemed practitioners — Laurence R. Sands, M.D., M.B.A., a renowned colorectal surgeon at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Eugene R. Schiff, M.D., one of the world’s leading authorities on liver diseases — have been unanimously selected by the Faculty Senate to receive two of its most prestigious awards, the Outstanding Teaching Award and the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award.

Among the University’s highest honors, the awards will be presented along with two previously announced awards at the 2016 Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 11.

Laurence R. Sands

Laurence R. Sands

 Sands, professor of clinical surgery and chief of the Division of Colon and Rectal Surgery, was selected as this year’s recipient of the Outstanding Teaching Award for his distinguished record and commitment to providing students with the highest quality education and for inspiring them to strive for success.

A leader in the use of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for colon cancer, Sands is involved in every element of surgical education for medical students and post-graduate trainees and is known for using his energy and talent to provide students with the best education at every opportunity. For example, in response to a major concern of residents and students about the balance of clinical service and educational opportunities, he reorganized clinical/surgical rotations to increase educational opportunities.

Demonstrating their gratitude for his inspiration and dedication to their education, the Miller School’s 2011 graduating class selected Sands for the 2010 George Paff Teaching Award.

A renowned gastroenterologist and hepatologist , Schiff, the director of the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases and Leonard Miller Professor of Medicine, will be honored at the April ceremony for his outstanding scholarly achievements. He will also present a short lecture on his research.

For decades, Schiff has led the University’s clinical research aimed at developing improved treatments and cures for hepatitis B, C and D, cirrhosis, and the entire spectrum of liver and biliary tract disorders.

Eugene R. Schiff

Eugene R. Schiff

In 2011, he became the first holder of the Dr. Nasser Ibrahim Al-Rashid Chair in the Schiff Center for Liver Diseases, the successor to the informal Center for Liver Diseases he and his late father, Leon, established in 1982.

Co-editor of the Eleventh Edition of Schiff’s Diseases of the Liver, Schiff has authored and co-authored more than 400 articles, books, and book chapters concerning liver diseases and related topics. He is a former president of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (his father was the first president), past chairman of the Biliary Section of the American Gastroenterological Association and past governor of the American College of Physicians for the state of Florida, a post he held for four years. He was a member of the Gastroenterology Subspecialty Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine and former Chair of the FDA Advisory Committee on gastrointestinal drugs. He is also the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

The Faculty Senate previously voted to honor School of Law Professor Richard L. Williamson with its James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award and, for the first time, to bestow a Special Faculty Senate Award posthumously, honoring the life and work of Eckhard Podack, a distinguished cancer researcher and educator at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center who passed away October 8.

All members of the University community are invited to attend the awards ceremony, which will begin at 5 p.m. at Storer Auditorium at the School of Business Administration, and will be followed by a reception.

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Take These 10 Steps to Boost Your DCC Fundraising

Special to UM News

An important part of participating in the Dolphins Cancer Challenge  on Saturday, February 20, is raising vital funds for cancer research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Remember that every penny raised by riders, walkers, runners and virtual participants goes to Sylvester and that’s what the DCC is all about. With two and a half weeks to go, now is your time to give your fundraising efforts one last push. Here are 10 ways to boost your fundraising:

1) Ask your friends, family, and coworkers
Asking for money is not easy, but consider this: by asking for a donation, you are inviting people to join the fight against cancer by supporting Sylvester’s innovative cancer research. Cancer has touched all of us in one way or another, so the mission of the DCC, and your commitment to supporting it, will resonate with everyone you ask.

2) Make your own donation
Reinvigorate your fundraising momentum by donating to your own team. Lead by example and encourage others to donate as well.

3) Aim high and be specific
Ask for a specific and larger amount from those you know can make bigger gifts. Don’t forget to specify that 100 percent of every dollar raised is donated to cancer research at Sylvester.

4) Expand your reach by using social media
Tag your friends and potential donors on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by using the hashtag #TeamHurricanes. Make sure to repost Sylvester’s DCC posts.

5) Send emails
Send emails to your network of potential donors directly from haku on the DCC website or draft your own message from your preferred email account. Include a link to your personal fundraising page. Sending periodic emails to your donor base is a great way to update them on your fundraising progress or training, and also to remind them to make a contribution if they have not done so already.

6) Include fundraising links in your email signature
In your personal and/or work emails, include a link to your personal fundraising page. Also consider including links to the websites of the DCC (DolphinsCancerChallenge.com) and Sylvester (Sylvester.org) for those who want to learn more about both organizations.

7) Ask about matching gifts
Ask your donors if their employers offer a matching gift program for an easy way to double the impact of their donation and strengthen the fight against cancer.

8) Host a fundraising brunch or dinner
Invite your friends, family, and coworkers to a brunch or dinner at your favorite local restaurant. Tell them why you are riding/running/walking in the DCC and ask them to support you by making a donation. And while you’re there, ask the restaurant to make a contribution as well.

9) Make a video
Make a short video explaining what inspired you to participate in the DCC or train for the big day and upload it to your team page as well as your social media channels. Ask your friends to share the video on their channels as well.

10) Meet in person
Catch up with your potential donors in person. They will appreciate the time you take to meet with them and your conversation will go a long way in motivating them to make a donation.

If you have not signed up for the DCC yet, make sure to do so as soon as possible by visiting TeamHurricanes.org.


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Researcher is Passionate About Sylvester

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Researcher is Passionate About Sylvester

Michael Samuels

Radiation oncologist Michael Samuels, who will ride in the DCC on February 20, said funds raised by the charity ride help Sylvester investigators get their research projects off the ground.

Michael Samuels, a radiation oncologist specializing in head and neck cancers at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, has been a passionate rider in the Dolphins Cancer Challenge since 2011. “I joined Sylvester in November 2010, and Jerry Goodwin, our chief medical officer, immediately encouraged me to sign up for DCC II and explained how important the event was for Sylvester,” Samuels recalled. “I agreed and participated in 2011. It was an incredibly exciting event, and I’ve been a part of it ever since.”

When Samuels signed up for the 100-mile ride in 2011, he had to train hard; he had not been on a bike since he was 18. Despite the odds, he not only finished, he also joined the 80-mile ride in 2012, bringing the total miles he rides each year to 180.

“There are many reasons why I’m so passionate about the DCC. What it does is crucial for Sylvester,” Samuels said. “Last year, the DCC generated $4.3 million, which went directly to research here at the cancer center.” Many of Sylvester’s investigators depend on DCC money for “pilot funding,” which gets their research projects off the ground and generates initial data that can be used to apply to funding sources outside of Sylvester.

“You can’t get an NIH grant in most cases or an important foundation grant without preliminary data,” said Samuels. He currently has two Sylvester grants to support tissue collection and to help fund the laboratory that performs the genetic analysis of the tissue. His team focuses on the genetic makeup of throat tumors caused by human papillomavirus and whether the virus could be re-activated under certain circumstances. Both grants were made possible by the DCC.

“Without the DCC, there is no way our team could get this important work done,” he said. “DCC strengthens the Sylvester research program in so many fundamental ways.”

But Samuels has another reason he’s a passionate DCC rider: “Anybody here has to ask herself or himself: how can I give back to Sylvester? Working here is a privilege—this is, by far, the most exciting environment I’ve ever been a part of. So the question is: how can I go above and beyond?”

For Samuels, participating in the DCC also demonstrates a different level of commitment. It allows him to go to people who support him and to his patients with a compelling reason to become part of the Sylvester team. “They usually say yes with enthusiasm,” he says. ”Any success I have had with DCC comes because those around me are amazingly generous. And by the time of the event, we all feel great about what we’re doing.”

Summing up his passion, he says, “When I see the impact, the research team using the funds, and understand the ultimate benefit to our patients—how could I not participate?”

To sign up for this year’s DCC on February 20, please visit TeamHurricanes.org.


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Researcher Has a Passion for Leukemia—and Running

Special to UM News

Sarah Rosenblatt

Sarah Rosenblatt

Sarah Greenblatt declares her passion uniquely: “I fell in love with leukemia!” A postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Director Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., she will participate in this year’s Dolphins Cancer Challenge (DCC) 5k run on Saturday, February 20. “Cancer has always had a big impact on my family,” she adds. “I became interested in leukemia when I worked on my Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins Medical Institute and rotated through a lab that studied small-molecule inhibitors for the treatment of pediatric leukemia.”

Greenblatt joined Sylvester three years ago and has been working on leukemia for the last two years. As part of her day in Nimer’s lab, she studies different enzymes that play a role in the development and progression of leukemia. A major goal of the lab is to come up with ways to target those enzymes in order to treat the cancer of blood cells.

“Ultimately, we want to develop a new therapy for a large number of leukemia patients, a drug that is targeted so that it causes less toxicity for patients,” she says. “We’re trying to figure out the mechanisms of how these enzymes drive leukemia and develop inhibitors for them. To do that, we develop model systems to see if the prototype inhibitors work.

To Greenblatt, leukemia is an interesting disease because, unlike solid tumors, blood can be accessed easily. “I think we know a lot more about the genetics of leukemia than other cancers, and it seems to be at the forefront of genetics research because you’re able to obtain the material easily from the patient.”

Greenblatt is one of many scientists in Nimer’s lab participating in the DCC this year. Two of her colleagues signed up for the bike ride, and Greenblatt and a few colleagues have volunteered at DCC events for kids. She signed up for the run because, as she says, “I’m a runner. I did the Marine Corps Marathon last year. I love running to release stress.”

Ultimately, she wants people to be excited about cancer research and see science in a positive light. “It’s a really interesting field,” she says. “And the progress that has been made in the last few years has been very exciting and interesting.”

Learn more and join Team Hurricanes at www.teamhurricanes.org.


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