The PMC Podcast

Hope

May 20, 2020 Kristin Sundin Brandt and Bill Alfano Season 1 Episode 6
The PMC Podcast
Hope
Chapters
The PMC Podcast
Hope
May 20, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
Kristin Sundin Brandt and Bill Alfano

It's All About Hope

While the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), with support from the Pan-Mass Challenge, has made tremendous strides towards treating cancers, it is estimated that approximately 1.8 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in 2020*.

Director of Stewardship and Liaison to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Meredith Beaton Starr, shares how the PMC connects riders and members of their extended community to resources at DFCI – providing not just help, but also hope.

https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/common.html

Support the show (https://donate.pmc.org/)

Show Notes Transcript

It's All About Hope

While the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), with support from the Pan-Mass Challenge, has made tremendous strides towards treating cancers, it is estimated that approximately 1.8 million people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in 2020*.

Director of Stewardship and Liaison to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Meredith Beaton Starr, shares how the PMC connects riders and members of their extended community to resources at DFCI – providing not just help, but also hope.

https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/common.html

Support the show (https://donate.pmc.org/)

Announcer :

This is The PMC Podcast with Kristin Brandt, and Bill Alfano, the Pan-Mass Challenge, raising money for life saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Now here's Kristin Brandt and Bill Alfano.

Kristin Brandt :

You're listening to The PMC Podcast. This is Kristin Brandt, and I am here via the ZOOM with my co-host, Bill Alfano.

Bill Alfano :

Hello, Kristin. It has like become my thing. By the way. Have you noticed? Well, Kristin, it's my Good morning.

Kristin Brandt :

I like it a lot. Yeah. Anyway, who are we having join us on today's episode?

Bill Alfano :

Oh, good one. Meredith Beaton Starr. Yes. From the PMC itself. Meredith heads up our stewardship. She's our liaison with Dana-Farber. I think we're in for a very, very good episode.

Kristin Brandt :

All right, well, let's take a break, and we'll come back with Meredith. We're here with Meredith Beaton, Starr Director of Stewardship and Liaison to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Thank you for joining us today. Meredith.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

Thank you for having me. I've been enjoying all of the podcasts so far. You are both incredible interviewers. It's been so interesting. And I've learned so much from listening to the podcast,

Bill Alfano :

who do you Who do you like better, Meredith? No, just kidding.

Kristin Brandt :

Uh, one of us is wearing a PMC bike jersey, and one of us is not

Bill Alfano :

And Meredith hasn't seen me today in about two and a half hours. So it's been? Yeah

Kristin Brandt :

So I'm new. Well, before we get into your role and your relationship with Dana-Farber and the Pan-Mass Challenge, why don't we take a step back and have you tell us a little bit about yourself and and what you do professionally.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

Thanks. I am an occupational therapist by profession and training. So for the past 34 years, I've been working as an occupational therapist in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. So over the years, I've worked in acute care hospitals in inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, with a hand as a hand therapist with an orthopedic surgeon, nursing home school. So, the great thing about this field is you're never bored, always finding something new and interesting to do. And my current position is probably my fav is definitely my favorite in my whole career as an OT. I work in Behavioral Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital in the Integrative Medicine Center. It's called the Osher Clinical Center for integrative medicine. And it's an outpatient clinic at the Brigham in Chestnut Hill, and I'm there part time with an incredible team of Eastern and Western therapists. So we see a lot of patients with pain issues. With migraine headaches with back pain, some neurological patients, and it's a full cohort of a team that can really address almost any kind of issue a patient with one of those kinds of diagnoses might be having. So that is my one side of my profession.

Bill Alfano :

Like, that's your part time job. That's crazy.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

And, you know, my other my other job is you which I love. I, actually one year on New Year's Eve, we're playing a game with a group of our friends and the card that I drew said, What is your dream job? And I thought, well, that's the easiest question I got all night because this is it. My dream job is what I'm doing right now with both of these different positions. And I really, I do feel that my work as a therapist informs my work at PMC, specifically more of the outreach that I do. with patients at Dana-Farber and within our PMC community,

Kristin Brandt :

what is it? So you lead right into the Pan-Mass challenge? What is the role of director of stewardship and liaison to Dana-Farber? What, what does that entail?

Meredith Beaton Starr :

It's a very unwieldy title, isn't it?

Kristin Brandt :

It really is.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

I don't really know how

Bill Alfano :

She has three business cards just for the title

Kristin Brandt :

I was very proud of myself for getting through that introduction. Let me just say,

Meredith Beaton Starr :

yeah, I think we could use some new language maybe but

Kristin Brandt :

Some wordsmithing

Meredith Beaton Starr :

interface on a lot of different levels with anyone who's in our PMC community, so could be riders, volunteers, donors, sponsors, it really, it's kind of reaches into a lot of different areas within the PMC. Certainly special events and programs that we do and helping to kind of Put together a speaking program or getting a doctor or a staff person at Dana-Farber to address members of the PMC, whether we are bringing teams in for a tour of the Institute, and we want to have a speaking program related to that, you know, every year our Heavy Hitter programs, we have an incredible evening that we bring about 750 people to it's been lately at the InterContinental for the past maybe 10 years. And we put together a really, I hope, inspiring and I just program with a doctor, a patient, you know, different kind of combinations of people, but it's really so it's an interfacing role, I would say and then it's supporting, you know, our team at our incredible staff at PMC in whatever way that I can. I think, you know, we we have within our organization, we joke around But you know, the concept of institutional knowledge is a big part of, you know, a lot of what of what we've done in the past and kind of how it informs our future and our present. And I started with the PMC in 1989. As a volunteer, before we had much of anything resembling a massage therapy. got together with some friends, I was working at Beth Israel hospital at the time and in the OT department. So I got some of my friends in who were OTS and PTs and nurses and we traveled on down to Mass-Maritime Academy and we were working on those little cots, like six inches off the ground, which, not good for anybody. And then over the years, honestly, with the addition of the organizational genius, Cindy Chase who runs the whole program, and Bob Vincent, who's a real massage therapist, unlike a lot of us We built that into really probably one of the best run massage therapy clinics that any organization does.

Kristin Brandt :

I can attest to that. I will say you get to the end of day one, you kind of think, do I really want anyone touching me? Because I'm really gross. But even after you shower, you're like, do I really want but they are very good. Not only and you know, this as an occupational therapist, it's not just about like, rubbing muscles, it's about dealing with the pains that cyclists are going to have. And those are very specific types of pains. And then you add on to that a whole team of people who are massaging those who have or are in cancer treatment. So they have something different, right? There's a whole set of masseuses. This could be a whole episode in and of itself, goes into that.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

It's, um, it's so true.

Unknown Speaker :

It has the roots in occupational therapy. And what you guys were doing originally,

Meredith Beaton Starr :

and we started really just because people needed to, you know, get up the next day and back in the 80s you know, people didn't know what they were doing so much with cycling. And the early years we joke around but you know, we'll see photos from PMC riders and they were in cutoff jean shorts and sneakers and no helmet and you know, so it was it was still a little bit of the Wild West at Mass-Maritime anyway, but after that, I did ride for a couple years and let's just say everyone's better off with me driving a van on PMC weekend and not riding a bike and then I was part of the head staff and was the mass-maritime coordinator and the Boston start coordinator and the Greater Boston start and logistics and you know, kind of doing some of those things but since joining the staff more on the staff side year round it's it's just been a great evolution and I couldn't be happier

Bill Alfano :

when Meredith talks about the stewardship in particular, in the speaking programs, it's really the foundation of how the whole impact program was built, you know, everyone's been to a bunch of galas and events. And they're great. And you know, what Meredith saw was and heard, right? You have to listen from our community. People really wanted to know, their start, you know, we started raising a lot of money, and people want to know where the money goes, you know. So it went from the speakers who were incredible speakers, to really, for the most part focused on a and Meredith I know you have a formula but it's usually a patient, a spouse or patient family, and then a doctor researcher who either was in that lab or specifically that patient's doctor, and you know, not every story has a happy ending, but you've you've really built this program. Which then, you know, became the pie chart and then became the impact videos. But do you want to throw a little bit out there about how you do put together your speakers, for instance, for heavy hitter?

Meredith Beaton Starr :

Sure. I think you know, that that's for all of us, you know, we get to live this life of, you know, we were connected and we hear these stories all the time, and it's really meaningful and inspirational and, and moving. I mean, truthfully, we hear the success stories that just will blow you away. And I, I felt like we needed to do a better job communicating that to all of our PMC constituencies. You know, Bill has the media side, and he's done an amazing job with these impact videos, interviewing doctors and researchers at Dana-Farber. And for a lot of these events, it's always fun to get dressed up and go to a party and celebrate but it's also this educational component that's so important because you know, as fundraisers thing that the PMC does brilliantly, more than any organization that I know is empowers riders as fundraisers but also as ambassadors for Dana-Farber and the more educated all of us are the better job we can do. Speaking intelligently about the work, the life saving work that's going on at Dana-Farber. So, doctors who ride the PMC are always so willing to come and speak to our riders, to our volunteers to our donors, they take every opportunity to come and talk about the work they're doing. We're funding so many different research programs. We're funding all kinds of development programs with drugs and discoveries at Dana-Farber and clinical trials and you know, a lot of the basic research that goes on, you know, a scientist or researcher will have a great idea in a lab or have some brilliant aha moment. But there's not always money to fund that. And that's where PMC money can come in on the early stages, so that scientists can take this idea and really, you know, build it to a point where they can apply for a grant or, you know, research money from the NIH or from the NCI. So we find that seed money and these researchers are are grateful but they're also a lot of them become PMCers because they can fund their own labs with their money. And this has been kind of, we've noticed this over the past probably dozen years that we get more and more teams riding from Dana-Farber, who are supporting their own research and their labs and their programs. So it's anything from basic science to you know, there's a there's a lot of different teams, but some teams spend their money with that they raise on clinical programs and outreach. It's the full gamut.

Kristin Brandt :

We have researchers will Come to our team dinners. And you sit there and it does, it really brings it home, what you're riding for what you're raising money for, not only the big picture of maybe what your team is trying to accomplish, but what has actually been accomplished, what is and that's something that I think, even if you read all the articles, it's a little abstract to have the doctor, they're talking to you about the things and then you see that same let's say, Our team has a fellow right and a fellowship, to see that former fellows continuing their work continuing and realizing that that's what your team did that your team seeded that research, and now they've kind of launched and we're on to a new one. It's really powerful and definitely helpful. You know, so you're an informed fundraiser, too. So you can say this is where the money is going. This is what it did.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

Exactly.

Sundin Sports Marketing (sponsor) :

The PMC Podcast is supported by Sundin Sports Marketing, putting your ideas into action at Sundin sports.com.

Kristin Brandt :

One of the things also, you know, we talked about the connections of the riders and the fundraisers and the patients. But one of the things that occurred to me in the last couple of years as a rider was I had a friend who had kidney cancer. And immediately I was like, oh, I'll call my team captain. She'll connect me with someone at Dana-Farber, she, you know, and it was the first time where I really thought about the fact that, that my connections through the Pan-Mass Challenge to Dana-Farber were so much deeper, and I've come to learn. I'm not the only one to have that brilliant thought. So one of the things we talked about is what happens when someone makes that call, whether it's to you or their team, Captain or just anyone that They make that connection. They say I or I have a loved one have received a diagnosis. Can you help me connect?

Meredith Beaton Starr :

Yeah, so that's a big part of what I do. You know, more more recently in the last few years, a lot of my work is helping to connect a patient to the right. Team doctor clinic at Dana-Farber. You know, this is something that we feel really strongly within the PMC. It's on our website on the community page that you know, you scroll right down and anyone who needs an appointment can fill in that form to get connected immediately to Dana-Farber. And a lot of times I'll get involved if it's a patient who lives far away who has to, you know, have some logistics with travel or doesn't really know how to navigate you know, the system through email or just if it's someone who wants a second opinion for a clinical trial or To see a very specific doctor, so then I will get involved in that. It's a lot of outreach to the patient and a lot of times a patient's family, if it's someone who's elderly or not, you know, up to communicating so well. So it's really kind of taking down a lot of the information about where someone is in their cancer diagnosis or journey, and then helping put together a referral to the right team or doctor at Dana-Farber and connecting that.

Bill Alfano :

So I'm going to dissect this a little bit, Meredith into into some smaller, smaller pieces, both professionally and personally. You get a call or an email or you see the form come through which I think that might go directly to Dana-Farber, you can correct me on that. But let's say there's a call on your voicemail. Just talk me through that, just that first part.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

So I like to, I like to call a person back versus email just because I think it's really important to have someone on the other end of the Who can listen and respond in a way that I hope makes someone feel better? I think as you know, we all know so many people, unfortunately, who have been diagnosed with cancer and that phone call or that conversation with a doctor saying you have cancer is one of the scariest, really terrible times for a lot of people. So sometimes just being on the other end of the phone to say, I'm so sorry to hear this, I can help you. Let me help you. So that's the start of the conversation. And then a lot of times it's helping someone gather the information necessary to make this referral, but really supporting them through the process because it can be so scary and it can be very daunting. I have a friend right now who was diagnosed recently with brain cancer. Initially, they thought he just had a seizure and then it's progressed to a point where he's been driving up from Cape Cod daily for the last four weeks. For radiation, and is seeing the chief of neurooncology at Dana-Farber, who and the whole team there who, even with everything going on with COVID-19 is doing a spectacular job to take care of him. But it's a really scary time. And so just being able to support that process and, and really listening, it's a lot of listening, I have to say

Kristin Brandt :

there must be something for patients to have someone on the line who understands, maybe not exactly what they're going through, but the process of what they need to do when there's so much, you know, nothing in your life has likely qualified you to know how to handle a cancer diagnosis. So to have someone who says, I've got you has to be, at least for me, it feels very reassuring that there could be someone I could call who says, Okay, let me help you out. Because I know what to do now, you know, because I wouldn't.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

I hope that is what it is.

Bill Alfano :

So from inside, I see this call come in and I know and Meredith, I don't know if you would bring this up yourself. I've seen it be people very close to you who make this call and I've seen it be people who are a rider that you might not know. And it may not even be someone directly connected to them and when you still get that call, and I don't know if your emotion or reaction ever changes it seems to be the same amount of raw emotion emotion and wanting to help which is it's got to be tough at different levels a talking to a stranger for the first time about something like this. And also then talking to someone you you know, it's just simply know through the years as a PMCer, personally, what is that that call that first call? What's that like?

Kristin Brandt :

How do you manage Yeah, without I'd be crying every day, under my desk.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

Well, Bill knows I am the first one to cry and staff meeting on a regular basis. Right. But mostly a lot of times. So I just have to say for me, it's, I'm not dealing with this every day like everyone who works at Dana-Farber. So I could never even start to to talk about how incredibly courageous people who work in this field are and how emotionally the toll it takes for all the health care workers on every level at Dana-Farber. And you know, one thing that Dr. Benz who was the president for many years used to say that Dana-Farber has this special sauce, you know, that makes it special and it really does start with the parking attendents right on up to you know, the chief of every department that when you're in when you're there, you know, people are taking care of you. So it's a it's really a philosophical approach that the whole Institute takes so I'm really lucky and privileged to be part of that. So I do feel like I think that is the right word. You know, it's it's really my privilege to help someone in some small way with this journey. And I do. You know, it really doesn't. It's people I know it's people I don't know. But I do think the navigation is important but also just the emotional support and it's sometimes the family who is really the outcomes sometimes are great and sometimes are not. And you know, with all the millions and millions of dollars we raise at PMC people still die of cancer every day. And there are people who devote their whole lives to trying to cure this disease. And, you know, we've seen so many advances in treatment in you know, all this new immunotherapy harnessing the immune system to battle cancer, new drugs that come out of development all over the world. But at Dana-Farber, you know, every year. It's an exciting time to be working in this field, but it's still There are still people we lose all the time. And we're always aware of that fact. You know, for me, being at the Living Proof ceremony at Mass-Maritime every year, I'm emotional just talking about it now to you two. It's, you know, to see so many people we know standing there is emotional, it's, it's inspiring. It's also devastating, because every year there's someone who's not there who lost their battle. So I think, you know, we, as a community, it's our work together. It's our collective work, that there are more and more cancer survivors every year and that people who take this on so passionately, you know, there's so many people in the PMC who start riding because, you know, it looks like fun and, you know, I can raise money, I'm strong, I like to bike and then you know, you just don't know someone They know has a diagnosis of cancer and then really changes everything. And so everyone in the PMC has a story. Everyone has a story to tell everyone's riding for a reason. And, you know, that's the privilege of being in this position. I hear more of those stories, maybe than anyone and I, I feel like it's up to us to carry that

Kristin Brandt :

that's the thing that we was important to reinforce today. This isn't, you know, you have to know someone, right? You have to know Meredith, you don't have to know Bill, you have to know. It's that if you are part of the PMC family, then this is a resource. That's part of it, maybe a an under talked about, you know, under something, which is why we're talking about it today, right, because I think we all know it in our hearts. We all know that we're part of this bigger story. We're part of this bigger community, that we can tap into that community. If you want But we shouldn't think of it as like, what's the secret password, find the handshake. Like, if you wore the jersey, you're in the you're in the club.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

Right

Bill Alfano :

Yeah. So Meredith What? So an email comes in to you or a phone call or the form gets filled out? You, unfortunately, maybe don't get to hold the appointment book for every doctor at Dana-Farber. So once that comes in, walk us through what's the what's the next step after when it gets to Dana-Farber, like what then happens.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

So we have great relationships with people in development who will help us if it's a team or a doctor or disease area that I don't personally know someone but you know, by now, I know a lot of the doctors directly that and I email them and another remarkable thing about the dedication of everyone single person at Dana-Farber, but certainly doctors who are taking care of patients, they usually email me back immediately and say and loop in their scheduler and we get someone in really as quickly as we can. And if I don't know, you know, the right person, someone, one of the doctors I reached out to will help me find the right person. And you know, sometimes it can be dramatic. It can be someone who's really, really sick, you know, someone on our own head staff who was in another hospital not doing well on a protocol that did not seem to be addressing his very acute need. And we honestly reached out to this doctor who at 11 o'clock at night, got an ambulance and picked this patient up and brought him right into the Brigham and Dana-Farber. So it can be dramatic like that. It can be someone who's flying in from another country and has to be connected immediately. Straight into the hospital on a protocol You know, there's so many different examples, but I do think the dedication of the staff and what I've been moved by in the beginning, I think when I was kind of new with this, and it wasn't really a job description, you know, it's not like it was kind of just life. You know, it's it's our life. Billy too you know, Billy, Billy gets a lot of these calls. And we'll forward to me if it makes sense. But in the beginning, I would start an email by apologizing for bothering a doctor, I would say, I'm so sorry to bother you. I was just wondering if you might be able to see this patient. And you know, Eric Winer who's the chief of of women's breast cancer at Dana-Farber one time at an event came up to me and he said, I need to say something to you. I need you to stop starting, starting. This is my job. I take care of patients, my team we take care of he want to take care of patients. So so I don't Start with Sorry to bother you anymore. Now it is it's the protocol and I you know, again, it's not special treatment I just want to be really clear about that. Anyone in PMC world and beyond a lot of times it's a donor as a PMC rider will call me and say, This person has been donating to me this person's mother sick in our town, can you help her? So yeah,

Bill Alfano :

it's really about the Dana-Farber at that point. I mean, it really is about the Dana-Farber and Kristin said something earlier that has really resonated with me. You know, it's the fact that at least we can you can help with the navigation. Of, you just got the diagnosis? Because I think, you know, obviously, there's the mortality part that goes with the diagnosis. But then there's also the insurance part the how do I get an appointment? What are my next steps? So the fact that that, that there's someone to talk to, or at least someone that you can, if it's not you You can refer them to somebody, that's, that's very special.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

I think it's it's so important during what might be the most scary time for someone to be able to provide some level of support. And, you know, kind of back to our first part of our conversation, I think the, you know, the limited knowledge that I do have medically from working in hospitals, you know, I am comfortable in a hospital setting, you know, being physically in the hospital and, and, you know, I can read a chart I can understand sometimes the, you know,

Kristin Brandt :

better than I can

Meredith Beaton Starr :

at least enough to to navigate that situation. So, I do think that is been helpful for, you know, on some level.

Bill Alfano :

Alright, so, Meredith, the realism, the realistic part of this is, even with the connections of the PMC and the incredible work by Dana-Farber. It doesn't always mean A patient may get into a clinical trial that they were hoping to. It doesn't and step further, it also doesn't mean that they may be cured. And I think that's important for everyone to understand. What it does do is give hope, right? Is that where this is?

Meredith Beaton Starr :

Yes, there's always hope. And hope is such an important part of the process of treatment and recovery and looking forward to a future. What I've learned, you know, people throw around a lot, you know, when there's a cure for cancer, a cure for cancer is really maybe not the right way to phrase what's going on. There's so many kinds of cancers and there's so many acute some cancers, absolutely. There are cures and some there are treatments that prolong life. And some there are treatments that will make cancer more like a chronic illness and people can live a long. happy and healthy life in the spectrum of all of that, where we sit, you know from our spot in PMC, we help facilitate getting people to a team that can really provide hope and provide treatment. And, you know, I think back to before I was really in this official role and a family friend reached out to us from Connecticut about friends of theirs who had a two year old son who was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, which is a devastating diagnosis. He was two years old. There's cancer everywhere in his body. And I reached out to this one doctor who they wanted to see at Dana-Farber, and, you know, it's 2004. I have two little kids. This family has two little kids and something said to me, I think I should go to the hospital. I don't usually go to someone's appointment, but I felt like they were traveling from Connecticut. I'm going to go and You know, I we kind of now look back and say I you know, I don't even know what I was thinking I grabbed my my diaper bag, I get my mom bag out of the car and I show up at the appointment and we were there all day and I got to know this family and the most completely stripped down emotional, you know, we've never met but here we are sitting here listening to this doctor say, you know, this when the dad asked for the statistics said, you know, well the five year survival rate is 15%. And this is a two year old and this mom is pregnant with their third child and they have a three year old at home and I sat there thinking I you know, this is just, I don't even know what to say about this. I just ended up taking this little boy and going sitting in the Jimmy Fund Clinic and playing with him for most of the time while the parents kind of sorted out how they were going to manage living in Boston with one child in the hospital. delivering a baby in Connecticut and just all everything that goes with that and they came up with a plan. And, you know, this child ended up having over his course of treatment 36 or more surgeries, eight weeks of chemo and radiation two stem cell transplants. Almost anything you could throw at this was thrown at this kid. I am happy to say not ironically, today is his 18th birthday. He's not. he's a he's probably one of the best chess players of his age. All over the world. He's a varsity tennis player. He's uh, it's, you know, do you want to call it a miracle or luck or the you know, the combination of the most brilliant doctors that could do this. They were not bike riders, you know, after, built a team called Team BrentWheels out of Connecticut. they've raised $5 million since they've been riding they've built MIB g room that treats relapsed patients in Boston over 100 patients, they have a clinical trial going on for a vaccine. I mean, they they're all in because there is nobody should be sitting on a bench and hear, your two year old has a 15% chance of surviving. So part of that story is that now today in 2020 60% of kids with neuroblastoma survived, it used to be 15. So that's progress that we can see we can hold on to that is exciting, and that is amazing. And then there are kids that unfortunately, are not in that percentage and, and that's devastating. And, you know, we have families in the PMC who have lost children and and they ride and they ride for other families and that, that moves me so much. That is just remarkable.

Kristin Brandt :

So much of this is about hope, whether it's giving hope You know, starting a team and giving hope to others, giving hope to yourself having something to fight for to when, you can't do any when you feel like you can't do anything I think part of you know, when someone we knew was diagnosed with cancer and I was I made a call and my daughter said, like, you know, you can never quit the PMC. Because, you know, a, you need to, you need to raise money and B, you have this phone number that you can call you can make this connection but I imagine that that hope whether it's going to the hospital and having someone to talk to you may not get into the trial, you know, you might, but but you've made connections or riding when that's the only thing that you can do. I think it's it all comes together. And and it is amazing, those stories. I mean, I look at my own team, the fact that most of us don't know the man who died of cancer A long time ago. Most of us don't know him, but we still ride in his name, I always think that's incredible.

Bill Alfano :

Well, and hope is such an interesting word because at Dana-Farber, it's hope backed by real by science. Yeah, by science, right. It's isn't. You're not like, Well, I hope this goes away. It's hope because you're at a place that if something positive is going to happen if something good is going to happen, it's going to probably happen there. That's the whole it's not. It's not a hope for just hope sake, if that makes any sense. You know, this is the always the big question. I guess the easiest one for fundraising is well, you guys, you know. So all the money goes to Dana-Farber. You know, why Dana why Dana-Farber. Why Dana-Farber, and it's easy to answer. It's like because anybody who is close to me that gets a cancer diagnosis, whether I worked at the PMC, or not what just below I do know, I would want them to be treated at Dana-Farber. And that's the that's the answer to the question. That doesn't mean there's not other great Institute's. But I know for a fact if I, if someone close to me was diagnosed, I would look to get them into Dana-Farber.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

And, you know, the truth is, it's a world class institution with the best scientists, the, you know, the most incredibly compassionate teams of caregivers. Not everyone can come here. And you know, what I what I have found really, really remarkable is how in the whole world of all these cancer institutes, people share data, they share open source material, they refer to each other, you know, any doctor who doesn't want their patient to have a second opinion. Forget it, you know, one should be hopeful that hope is the most important word and I think, you know, when people ask me, what is the PMC, about it's a force of it. a force for hope. It's a source of hope. It really provides people with who want to somehow get involved in funding and finding a cure for cancer or a treatment for cancer. It says you can do it anyone can participate. Anyone can be involved in this community. It doesn't matter if you make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at a water stop. You ride 200 miles you finished early, you finished late you don't finish it all. Who cares? You're part of the PMC you're part of this force for hope and good. And you know, we don't get PMC weekend this year, which is just really terrible. But we on PMC weekend and you know, we'll create our own right this is where reimagined 2020 being part of that PMC bubble of good on the weekend. It sticks with you all year round. It's, it is a force of hope and goodness that you know, we all need in our lives, and Maybe now more than ever.

Bill Alfano :

Yeah, maybe now more than ever.

Kristin Brandt :

Okay. Well, on that note, I think of hope, and hopefulness. I think we're gonna wrap this up. I want to thank you so much for joining us where, again, if someone is looking to make that connection, because they've had a diagnosis, they've a friend from their community. You mentioned there somewhere on their website on the website that they can go.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

Yes, on the community page. There is a form that can be filled out that does go directly to Dana-Farber.

Kristin Brandt :

That's Fantastic. Thank you again for joining us.

Meredith Beaton Starr :

My pleasure. Thank you both.

Kristin Brandt :

Alright, we're back. So I rode right afterwards.

Bill Alfano :

Yes.

Kristin Brandt :

I was wearing up wearing my super sucky up shirt.

Bill Alfano :

Yeah, I mean, I don't want to make any comments, but you definitely were, yeah.

Kristin Brandt :

Hey, if you're going to dress for work, um, and I found myself thinking a lot about this interview and that word, hope Yes, she kept saying, and just how much of that defines all that we do with the PMC. So she was spectacular. She cried twice?

Bill Alfano :

Yeah, yeah, twice. I think she got me once. Meredith man, she is hope like she is. We see it. We're very lucky to see it in the office and get to get to work with her You should hear her interacting with with riders who are patients or volunteers or patients, everybody comes away from those calls or interactions just feeling better than they did before it started no matter how tough the situation is they they feel better.

Kristin Brandt :

Yeah. Well, as I said, she, she filled me with hope and all the feels during that interview. definitely got me thinking about you know, getting back to the fundraising and getting back to the ride. Cuz I know a lot of us are feeling still a little disconnected and, you know, hopeless, I guess, you know, it was nice to hear that get that reminder.

Bill Alfano :

You know the need, you know, everyone knows the need is is still there. I just was talking to someone in the medical industry not profession industry today and I guess the concern right now is so many people who should have been going in for diagnosis and or treatments have have waited. And then they're expecting this huge influx of patients and new patients at all the institutes all the hospitals for different, you know, different diseases. But obviously at Dana-Farber, it's going to be it's going to be a big, big uptick and a real concern.

Kristin Brandt :

Being that I believe that PMC just made a donation to Dana-Farber for the first time. Maybe you can tell us a little bit about that before we

Bill Alfano :

Yeah. Sure it, you know it, just to be really clear on what it was we basically pulled forward, we usually do our gift on December 31. And it's the full from the full year 100% of the donations from the year they told us about a need they had because of COVID everything from transportation and telemedicine and you know, who can get treatment and how and now they have to come in by themselves. There's just a lot of added pressure on patients as well as as the medical community. And they put together the emergency response fund and we committed as a community to $4 million to be gifted to them on May 1 and very happy to say the PMC community stepped up again. And we were able to give them the $4 million wire transfer on May 1 as part of the 2020 Fundraising total so it'll be part of the whole year's

Kristin Brandt :

total at the end will include the 4 million that that we in that organization we're able to donate now, and that is amazing.

Bill Alfano :

Yeah, we I mean, we there's a nice letter on the website from Dr. Glimcher. The President university president of the Institute, it you know, it's, it's, it's real and it was needed. I'm always in awe of the PMC community, you know, I have my little role in it, but I'm kind of always in awe of it, of watching how it responds to things,

Kristin Brandt :

and they give some hope gives up well, on that note, I think we will wrap this up for show notes links to read more about about Meredith about the PMC about the recent donation you can visit pmc.org

Bill Alfano :

if you like the show, tell three friends leave a review, share it, you can find the show everywhere you find your podcasts, and there's a lot riding on us.

Kristin Brandt :

There is a lot riding on us.