Fun Is “Good Medicine” at PurpleStride Los Angeles and PurpleStride Chicago

Home About the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network Pancreas Matters email newsletter archive Fun Is “Good Medicine” at PurpleStride Los Angeles and PurpleStride Chicago

Hospitals and Healthcare Professionals Serve as Sponsors and Form Teams to Support Patients and the Cause

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Dr. Nicholas Nissen of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, right, helps lead the ribbon ceremony at PurpleStride Los Angeles on May 3. Also pictured are Los Angeles Affiliate Coordinator Yumi Totani and Orange County Affiliate Coordinator Roberta Luna.

For Dr. Nicholas Nissen, a pancreatic cancer surgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, being a part of the city’s PurpleStride on May 3 was almost like a family reunion.

He high-fived current patients and gave bear-hugs to a few former patients he hadn’t seen in a while. He huddled with nearly 150 co-workers, family and friends who made up the team he started, the Cedars-Sinai Whipplers, and he stood in solidarity against pancreatic cancer alongside them during opening ceremonies.

“Being a part of PurpleStride Los Angeles this year was truly one of the brightest days of my career,” Dr. Nissen said after the event.

Dr. Nicholas Nissen (top fundraiser) with his son, Gabriel, and, from left, Judy Fischer (third top fundraiser) and Alma Gomez (second top fundraiser) at PurpleStride Los Angeles.  Dr. Nissen’s team, the Cedars-Sinai Whipplers, raised more than $38,000 for PurpleStride Los Angeles. The Whipplers were the top fundraising team on event day, and Dr. Nissen was the top individual fundraiser.

Dr. Nicholas Nissen (top fundraiser) with his son, Gabriel, and, from left, Judy Fischer (third top fundraiser) and Alma Gomez (second top fundraiser) at PurpleStride Los Angeles.

“Standing up front, looking out at the faces in the crowd, with everyone holding a ‘Know it.’ ‘Fight it.’ or ‘End it.’ banner during the event’s signature ribbon ceremony, was a great feeling. As a surgeon, to have the opportunity to hold up the banner saying ‘End it.’ was particularly special, as this is what we try to do every time we go into the operating room.”

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was a sponsor for PurpleStride Los Angeles 2014. In addition, the Cedars-Sinai Whipplers raised more than $38,000, far surpassing the team goal of $25,000 and coming in as the event’s top fundraising team on event day. Dr. Nissen was the event’s top individual fundraiser.

PurpleStride Los Angeles participants gather before the walk/run to show their solidarity during the “Know it. Fight it. End it.” ribbon ceremony.

PurpleStride Los Angeles participants gather before the walk/run to show their solidarity during the “Know it. Fight it. End it.” ribbon ceremony.

“PurpleStride Los Angeles gave us the unique opportunity to bring the whole team together in one place outside of the hospital, and by the whole team, I mean everyone who fights this disease – patients, families, doctors, nurses, nutritionists, therapists, pharmacists, researchers and many more.”

Nissen added that for Cedars-Sinai and other healthcare institutions, PurpleStride events create a camaraderie and positive spirit that is beneficial for staff, patients and the community.

“We really had a lot of fun out there,” he said. “And in the healthcare field, fun can be good medicine.”

Meanwhile, across the miles in Chicago, doctors from The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center led efforts within their institution and beyond to promote PurpleStride Chicago 2014, held on April 26.

Dr. Mitchell Posner, a member of The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center Team, celebrates a top fundraising team award with Alex Block, Must-Dash for Bob team captain.

Dr. Mitchell Posner, a member of The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center Team, celebrates a top fundraising team award with Alex Block, Must-Dash for Bob team captain.

Drs. Hedy Kindler, Irving Waxman and Mitchell Posner hosted a special leadership breakfast months prior to the event as a way to ignite team spirit. At the breakfast, they invited fellow institutions, companies and community members to commit to joining the fight by starting their own team for PurpleStride Chicago. In addition to forming The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center Team, the Center was a sponsor of the event and had a booth on-site at PurpleStride, where participants could learn more about the institution’s important work.

Dr. Kindler participated in the “Know it. Fight it. End it.” ribbon ceremony, and Dr. Posner handed out awards to top fundraising teams.

The University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center Team doubled their fundraising goal, and their presence meant hope for the many survivors and loved ones present.

Thousands of participants take off on the PurpleStride Chicago walk/run route on April 26.

Thousands of participants take off on the PurpleStride Chicago walk/run route on April 26.

Dr. Kindler, associate professor of medicine and an honorary co-chair for PurpleStride Chicago 2014, said she enjoyed seeing the greater Chicago community come together for the cause.

“It was a wonderful experience,” she said. “It’s one thing to see patients in a hospital setting, but to see all of our patients’ friends and their family members wearing purple and standing up for the cause was truly inspiring.”

Dr. Waxman, professor of medicine and surgery and the event’s honorary co-chair, added, “Pancreatic cancer isn’t a disease that gets a lot of attention or research funding, so it’s important for institutions like ours to support advocacy groups like the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, as well as contribute to the latest advancements in research and treatment.”

Stay tuned for more stories about researchers and healthcare professionals getting involved with their local PurpleStride event. And if you know of or work for an institution that might be interested in supporting a local PurpleStride, please reach out to us at corporaterelations@pancan.org or 1-877-272-6226.

Editor’s note: This is the second article in an occasional series highlighting pancreatic cancer healthcare professionals, researchers and local institutions that enthusiastically support their community’s PurpleStride walk/run events. You can read the first article in the series, which ran in the May issue of Pancreas Matters, here.

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