Friday, October 1, 2010

MGH teams up with Patriots to help Kick Cancer

KICKING CANCER: From left, Slavin; David Ryan, MD, clinical director of the MGH Cancer Center; Kraft; Myra Kraft, his wife; Sally Mason Boemer, senior vice president of Finance and the MGH Cancer Center; Bruce Chabner, MD, director of Clinical Research for the MGH Cancer Center

Nearly 70,000 fans pack the stands at Gillette Stadium for every New England Patriots home game, and statistically, more than one third will develop cancer in their lifetimes.

To help address this alarming statistic, the MGH Cancer Center is teaming up with other Boston hospitals to support the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation's Kick Cancer initiative, a season-long program to increase cancer awareness among Patriots fans. At each home game, the Patriots will raise awareness about common cancers.

"Knowing risk factors, having good information and requesting regularly scheduled screenings is imperative," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft before the Sept. 26 home game. "With proper screening and early detection, families can avoid a lot of heartache."

Kraft was joined for the announcement of the initiative by leadership from all three hospitals, including Peter L. Slavin, MD, MGH president, and Gary L. Gottlieb, MD, MBA, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare. MGH Cancer Center clinicians and staff were also at the game promoting cancer prevention and screening to the fans.

Also helping to "kick off" the initiative, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski visited with pediatric patients at the MGH Cancer Center on Sept. 28. Gostkowski's visit follows a recent appearance by Patriots legend John Hannah who stopped by the Yawkey 8 Infusion Clinic on Sept. 24. Gostkowski and punter Zoltan Mesko have filmed public service announcements promoting cancer screening.

"We all know someone who has been affected by cancer," said Gostkowski. "Win or lose, we want Patriots fans to leave games this year knowing more about risk factors and their options for screening."

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