Monday, March 31, 2014

Q&A with marathon runner David Sweetser, MD, PhD

David Sweetser, MD, PhD, running for Delia, age 6, Ewing's Sarcoma.

Q: What is your name?

A: David Sweetser

Q: Where are you from?

A: North Andover, MA

Q: What is your role at Massachusetts General Hospital?

A: I am a pediatric oncologist and also Division Chief of the Medical Genetics Program at MGHfC. In these roles I take care of kids with cancer and also help discover how genetics contributes to a variety of medical issues in children and adults. I also run a cancer research lab dedicated to better understanding the basis of cancer and devising new, safer and more effective treatments.

Q: Why did you choose to run the marathon for MassGeneral Hospital for Children?

A: I take great pride in being a member of the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology team here at MGHfC. This team is an amazing group of compassionate individuals dedicated to wiping out childhood cancer and providing unparalleled support to the kids with cancer and their families. Much of the resources we have to help us such as child life specialists, social workers, psychiatrists, patient friendly treatment rooms and play rooms, and administrative support as well as cutting edge research to better understand cancer and develop new therapies would not be possible without the funds raised by the Mass General Marathon Team. I can’t stand on the sidelines and cheer.  I am compelled to jump in and contribute in every way I can to making sure we have the best program in the country.

Q: What kind of experience do you have as a runner?

A: Running provides a rare time out from my hectic daily routine to help clear my thoughts, do something healthful for myself and help put life in perspective.

Q: What inspires you as a runner?

A: Every day I see how cancer turns the world upside down for families, as they learn of the diagnosis, battle through therapy and in many cases, but not always, triumph over cancer. I am continually inspired by witnessing the unbelievable strength these families and kids manage to put forth in these struggles. I am inspired by those many kids over the years that have beat cancer, but I am also inspired by those who did not but taught me much about living.

Q: What has been your most memorable moment preparing for the marathon?

A: My most memorable moment was ending a long training run by sprinting down Boylston Street and crossing the finish line that I was not able to cross last year because of the bombings.

Q: What have you learned about your patient partner and what makes her special?

A: I have been privileged to be paired up with Delia. Delia is one girl that leaves an indelible mark on everyone she meets. She is all about meeting life head on, speaking her mind and plowing through all adversity.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about marathon day?

A: The crowds, the cheering support and being part of an unforgettable experience.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to add?

A: I would like to thank all of those that help out this tremendous cause and help us conquer cancer one step at a time.

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