As a past rider in the Pan-Mass Challenge bike-a-thon (PMC), U.S. Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts knows all about the important role the event plays in funding cancer care and research at Dana-Farber.
Today, during a morning tour of Dana-Farber and its Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, the senator got an up-close look at how some of that fundraising is being put to work.
Brown is riding in his third PMC this weekend as a member of "Team Lenny," a squad that channels its support to the center spearheaded by its namesake and opened shortly after Zakim's 1999 death from the rare blood disorder multiple myeloma.
During today's tour, Brown had the opportunity to see the Zakim Center's art and music therapy studio and treatment facilities. He also observed a demonstration of acupuncture, one of the host of therapies offered at the center to supplement traditional cancer treatment and help patients deal with side effects and improve their quality of life.
"Cancer takes many different forms, making an integrative approach that includes evidence-based alternative treatments as well as traditional remedies an important part of bringing relief and healing to patients who are suffering," said Senator Brown, who also visited with young patients in the Jimmy Fund Clinic. "I am very proud to be a part of 'Team Lenny' in this year's Pan-Mass Challenge. The goal of $36 million [for this year's ride] is ambitious but achievable thanks to the commitment of so many people joining together to wipe out the pain that cancer inflicts on its victims and those who love them."
In addition to seeing integrative therapy in action, Brown had the chance to talk to Zakim Center and Dana-Farber leaders about the latest research findings connected with such treatments, which are gaining wider use as an effective complement to surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
U.S. Senator Scott Brown and his wife talked with a patient undergoing acupuncture at the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies.
Like Zakim, who embraced integrative therapies as a Dana-Farber patient, current pediatric and adult patients credit Zakim Center offerings for helping ease nausea, improve circulation, and reduce pain, stress, and anxiety associated with cancer treatment. Brown is the second sitting U.S. senator from Massachusetts to rally around the Zakim Center's mission; John Kerry, a cancer survivor and fellow PMC veteran, has given financial support to the center in the past.
"We are thrilled to have Senator Brown join our team," says Anne Doherty-Gilman, MPH, director of Business Practices and Integrative Therapies at Dana-Farber. "As director of the New England Region of the Anti-Defamation League, Lenny Zakim was committed to building bridges between different groups. It only seems fitting that both our senators – one Republican, one Democrat – unite around Dana-Farber and the Zakim Center"
The Pan-Mass Challenge consists of 11 different routes ridden over this weekend (Aug. 4 and 5) from Sturbridge to Provincetown, Mass. Brown, who is tackling the Sturbridge-to-Bourne route tomorrow, is one of 5,500 cyclists – more than 30 of them Dana-Farber staff members – riding this year. The PMC has generated $338 million for Dana-Farber since its 1980 founding, more than any other athletic fundraising event in the country.