Albany Med Surgeon Helps Cross-Country Ultrarunner Raise Sarcoma Awareness
March 22, 2013 - Albany , NY
ALBANY, N.Y., March 22, 2013 - An ultrarunner attempting to cross the country in 150 days to raise awareness for sarcoma research is being supported by Matthew DiCaprio, M.D., Albany Med's director of Orthopaedic Oncology, who is contributing his expertise to enhance the run's educational effort.
Landon Cooper, who turns 34 next week, is running across the continental United States to raise awareness and funds for sarcoma research in memory of his friend Ashley Davis.
"Everything is day-by-day. But 3,000 miles is 3,000 miles," Cooper said in a telephone interview conducted March 21 while he was running through a desolate stretch of Nevada. "We set the bar high."
Not long after learning of Cooper's trek, Dr. DiCaprio agreed to sponsor the ultrarunner through the Green Drakkoman Foundation (http://greendrakkoman.org/1.html), and to serve as the medical expert for the website that accompanies his efforts (http://miles2give.org).
"I've been in pretty much daily contact ever since," said Dr. DiCaprio, who is an associate professor of surgery in the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery at Albany Medical College. "We've become pretty close friends. His passion is amazing."
Cooper feels the same way about Dr. DiCaprio, who conducts surgery at Albany Med and practices with his colleagues at Capital Region Orthopaedics.
"I never met him, but we had an instant connection," Cooper said. "There was something genuine in the doctor's spirit. His involvement, it's absolutely huge. Huge."
Marc Shinebarger, the father of one of Dr. DiCaprio's patients, first tipped off the doctor about Cooper's efforts earlier this year. Cooper will be running for Shinebarger's daughter, Kristen, on Monday ‹ her 11th birthday. The Saratoga Springs man is not surprised by the involvement of "Dr. D."
"He always goes above and beyond to help families out," Shinebarger said. "He is a very dedicated person."
Sarcoma is a cancer of the connective tissue (bones, muscles, fat, nerves, and tendons) affecting about 12,000 Americans annually. In adults, sarcoma represents 1 percent of all newly diagnosed cancers, but 15 percent of all pediatric cancers. Early detection and aggressive treatment can cure these cancers in up to 70 percent of patients, but Dr. DiCaprio said survival rates have been flat and there is little dedicated to research because of the relatively few number of people affected.
"It's a disease that just doesn't get any attention," Dr. DiCaprio said.
Albany Medical Center, northeastern New York's only academic health sciences center, is one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region. It incorporates the 651-bed Albany Medical Center Hospital, which offers the widest range of medical and surgical services in the region, and the Albany Medical College, which trains the next generation of doctors, scientists and other healthcare professionals, and also includes a biomedical research enterprise and the region's largest physicians practice with nearly 400 doctors. Albany Medical Center works with dozens of community partners to improve the region's health and quality of life. For more information: www.amc.edu or www.facebook.com/albanymedicalcenter.
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