CINCINNATI—Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure, the largest regional fundraiser for brain tumor education and research, marks its five-year milestone Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014.
Event co-chairs Brian and Joe Wiles have set their goals high. They are aiming to exceed last year’s record numbers of 2,300 participants, 191 teams, 19 states represented and more than $230,000 raised.
All proceeds will remain in Cincinnati, supporting research and education at the Brain Tumor Center at the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute, a partnership of the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine and UC Health.
Researchers at the UC Brain Tumor Center are using Walk Ahead funds to study 1) the major pathways used by cancer genes; 2) the specific proteins that play a role in the spread of cancer cells; and 3) the compounds that inhibit the ability of cancer cells to utilize energy.
The event’s four-year fundraising total is $717,000.
"Walk Ahead has grown rapidly, with a geographic reach that has exceeded our expectations,” says Ronald Warnick, MD, medical director of the UC Brain Tumor Center and the John M. Tew, Jr., MD, Chair in Neurosurgical Oncology. "The passion that patients and families bring to this event reinforces the profound need for more research into the underlying mechanisms of brain cancer.
"We are privileged to serve as stewards of the walk’s donations,” Warnick adds. "We are proud of our core contingent of translational researchers, who are striving to convert molecular discoveries into therapies that can prolong our patients’ lives and improve quality of life.”
Brain tumors are not uncommon. The American Brain Tumor Association estimates that 70,000 primary brain tumors (those that originate in the brain) are diagnosed each year, about 35 percent of which are malignant. The incidence of metastatic brain tumors (those that have spread from another part of the body) is far higher, with more than 170,000 cases diagnosed each year.
Brian Wiles, a member of the UC Brain Tumor Center’s Community Advisory Council, reports that the Walk Ahead quilt, constructed from team members’ T-shirts, will be on display again and will feature a new border made from shirts donated last year. "Each shirt in the quilt represents a personal story of courage and determination in the journey to bring an end to this challenging disease,” he says.
Walk Ahead will feature a 5-kilometer chip-timed run, beginning at 8 a.m., and a 5K walk that will follow at 8:45. The wheelchair-accessible route starts and finishes at Sawyer Point Park and will include a stroll across the Purple People Bridge. The celebratory walk/run will feature music and refreshments.
The UC Brain Tumor Center treats patients with complex tumors of the brain, head, neck and central nervous system. The center’s multidisciplinary team includes specialists in radiation oncology, neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, otolaryngology, neuro-ophthalmology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, restorative medicine, neuropathology, neuroradiology and integrative medicine.