On Sunday, April 27, 2014, oral cancer survivors and their families joined dental and nursing students, residents, and faculty of New York University Colleges of Dentistry and Nursing for New York City’s Ninth Annual Oral Cancer Walk to raise awareness of oral and pharyngeal cancer, a disease that kills over 8,000 American men and women each year.
This year’s walk, a first for inter-borough travel, took a record number of walkers on a four-mile route over the Williamsburg Bridge from Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan to Bushwick Inlet Park in Brooklyn. Over 875 walkers participated, raising nearly $62,000 for the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF), a national public service, non-profit entity designed to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and patient support activities.
“We are pleased to announce that we exceeded our $60,000 goal,” said Jacqueline F. Green, NYC Oral Cancer Walk 2014 Co-chair and NYU College of Dentistry DDS Candidate, 2014. “Special thanks to some of our top fundraisers: Dr. Ivy Peltz, Candace Lee, the Saving Smiles Charity event, and our winning clinic, Peltz and Associates, which raised over $19,000. And, special thanks to our two speakers who are oral cancer survivors, Natalie Carillo and Eva Grayzel. Your stories are inspirational and by sharing them, you have helped to benefit others.”
The Smiling Faces, Going Places dental van, offered free oral cancer screenings, provided by NYU College of Dentistry students and faculty with the assistance the Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center team. More than 30 people had oral cancer screenings during the event. The key to survival is awareness, prevention, and early detection. If detected in its earliest stages, oral cancer is easily treated.
“The OCF channels the Walk’s donations into worthy research projects with meaningful results,” said Alexander R Kerr, DDS, MSD, NYU College of Dentistry Oral Cancer Walk Chair. “As an example, the work of Dr. Maura Gillison, a major research force behind the discovery of the association between HPV 16 and oropharyngeal cancer, has been funded by the OCF.”
Dr. Kerr continued, “It is inspirational to see how Khadine Alston, a senior DDS student in 2005, began it all, and now Jackie Green and Yelena Lange are passing on the torch again. Our wonderful students are to be congratulated for their dedication and activism; it is across the span of their collective careers that they will surely make a difference in the fight against oral cancer.”
Additional contributing sponsors and participants included: Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, Columbia, Stony Brook, students from other chapters of the Student National Dental Association (SNDA), participants from the Oral Cancer Foundation, the Oral Cancer Consortium and QWASI.