Program for Thursday, October 2, 2008

David Pike is introducing a unique individual with a very exciting program at Gate City this Thursday. 

Excerpted form the Chordoma Foundation website:  "Josh Sommer is incoming executive director of the Chordoma Foundation.  The Chordoma Foundation was started in February, 2007 by Dr. Simone Sommer, and her son Josh, after he was diagnosed with a clival chordoma in 2006, during his freshman year of college. Since his diagnosis, Josh has worked in an oncology lab at Duke University to find his own cure.
  • Chordoma is a slow growing, relentless bone cancer that occurs in the head and spine in people of all ages. Chordoma is typically resistant to chemotherapy and radiation, and is prone to multiple recurrences. The average survival after diagnosis is 7 years. 
Josh believes that patients should play an active role in bringing about treatments for their own conditions, and that patients represent a largely untapped source of funding, energy, and know-how in the treatment development process.
Josh was a freshman at Duke University studying environmental engineering when he was diagnosed with chordoma. Soon after his diagnosis, Josh joined the lab of Dr. Michael Kelley, a Duke oncologist studying the genetic basis of chordoma, and the only federally-funded chordoma researcher. His research in Dr. Kelley’s lab included cell line characterization, gene-expression microarray analysis, candidate gene knockdown using RNA interference, and in vitro drug screening. To support his work in the lab, Josh switched majors to a self-designed bioengineering curriculum focused on modeling and solving biological “problems” that lead to disease.

After finishing his junior year in May, 2008 Josh was awarded a two-year Echoing Green fellowship for social entrepreneurs, and subsequently has taken a leave of absence from Duke to lead the Chordoma Foundation as full-time executive director. To complement his work for the Chordoma Foundation, Josh has joined Duke’s Program on Global Health and Technology Access as a Fellow in Strategic Philanthropy and Health. In addition, Josh continues to lead research projects in Dr. Kelley’s lab, and helps coordinate collaborations with research labs in eight countries.
In school Josh received numerous honors and awards including the USA Today All-USA Academic First Team Award, Prudential Spirit of Community Award, Coca-Cola Scholarship, and AXA Achievement National Award."  
The website features a different Profile in Courage each month -
  •  As everyone whose life has been affected by chordoma knows, it is a challenging, confusing, lonely, and often frightening disease. It is a disease that has, until recently, received little public attention, and was barely known to the public and to the research community. We hope that these candid stories of courageous patients and their families will shed light on what it means to live with, survive, fight against, or die from this disease. This is the human side of the cancer called chordoma.
For further reading, check out chordoma in Wikipedia. 

Rotary | Make Dreams Real

No trash left behind

David Pike sent an email earlier today including a link to a video of Richard and him demonstrating the correct method for picking up trash out of Greensboro's streams. Now if you can figure out how to operate the DigTriad site and launch that video, you're one smart Rotarian, smart enough to operate that grabber tool David used. Hey, isn't that Bobby's running shoe in the video? They said every Gate City Rotarian needs to meet them in the parking lot at Sears on Friendly Saturday morning at 8:00. And they said if you can't be there on time, be early. Click below to launch the video. (Actually hit the PAUSE button, this video shouldn't self-launch. Hit the play button only if you want to play it. David and Richard appear right after her introduction.)


Through the miracle of technology, David Pike and his family have a link to the outside world at a time when their worlds are turned upside down. Through CaringBridge, a non-profit, specifically geared to help families keep in touch with a wide community of friends on this thing called a weblog, or blog for short, this miracle happens.

David, Patricia, Kris, Roman can write in a
Journal; they get to tell their community of friends (subscribers) anything. Subscribers can jot David and family a note in the "guestbook" (click the guestbook link), just browse, or even elect to receive David's updates delivered to their mailboxes immediately after David writes in his Journal.

CaringBridge keeps families and friends connected and with ease. The family doesn't have to say or write the same message over and over when it's hard to remember what they've said to whom. Several friends we know are on CaringBridge and they say it's a great way to keep in touch, send updates, and share the life-blood of encouragement, thoughts and prayers with friends.

So if you haven't checked in on David's CaringBridge, click here now. Just follow the links to visit and sign his guestbook and to sign up to get updates automatically.

Tim, Richard, and I went to the Hoppers last night with our families. Anne and I wanted to hear about David, having seen his Caringbridge journal for the first time that morning. And so, in the spirit of Rotary, we got to "share" our friend, David, with each other, and affirm the true example of courage and hope he is to our entire club and beyond. David, if your ears were burning, it wasn't the chemo, it was us talking about you!

Right there and then we three made a pact to sport buzz haircuts no longer than a #2, in honor of David, until he's all well. We want to encourage all Gate City Rotarian guys to join in this salute to our friend as he battles pancreatic cancer, day and night. Richard and Tim, GQ guys that the are, were already rocking buzz cuts when we got to the ballpark. Jim was too, when I saw him last week. Eric, too, Rick and Alex might be on the permanent plan, and maybe Buster is too, though I can't tell whether he's got Grandpappy Lewis' balding genes or not.

Here's me getting a buzz cut today from Chuange, a guy from Viet Nam (sort of like slurring your speech and saying John) was knows all of five words, but he's really nice and has steadier hands than any surgeon I know. John, for short, cuts hair at Gene's Style Shop on Spring Garden. Old fashioned hot lather, ice-cold Coca-Colas in glass bottles, and a massive neck massage too.

John didn't quite understand why someone would want to buzz all their hair off for a friend with cancer, but Frank (the older guy wearing the blue golf shirt - in the mirror), who has been cutting hair for 50 years, translated what I wanted for Chuange. "He wants it cut off special, for a friend," he said with a smile, knowing exactly what having a friend meant. Thanks Frank!