Monday, November 21, 2011

2011 Baltimore Marathon

It all started with the compelling story and determination of one patient, John Petrovick, a 24 year old law school student at UMBC.  In 2008, the same year he was training for his first marathon, John was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in the right frontal lobe of his brain.  One year later, despite the surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, he ran a full marathon and raised more than $ 10,000 for Dr. Q’s research.   He ran again in 2010 and raised another $5,000.

John’s dedication to the lab inspired Dr. Q and members of his lab.  In 2011, Dr. Q created a running team, mostly comprised of young students from the lab, and decided to run with John.  For the first time in ten years, Dr. Q started running again.  He began training a few times per week to prepare for the race.  The night before the marathon, Dr. Q, his lab team, and a few patients gathered for a carbo load dinner at Germano’s in Little Italy.

The next morning, the team gathered at a meeting place to prepare for the race. The weather that day was perfect for the run. Despite being injured, Dr. Q finished the half-marathon in two hours and six minutes.  Even more impressive was John’s performance—only five months after another operation with Dr. Q and one week after an exhausting session of chemotherapy, he finished the half-marathon in one hour and 57 minutes!! 
Alicia Cignatta, another patient of Dr. Q’s, also participated in the race. She says, “I wanted to do this because the key to us surviving longer with a better quality of life is through research like that of Dr. Q’s.  We need to uncover what makes our brain tumors tick.”  When asked if she plans to do more fund raising events in the future, she replied, “yes, absolutely!”

Dr. Q and his team plan to make the marathon fundraiser an annual event.  We hope to make this event bigger and better next year.  If you want to help us cure brain cancer, join our running team, Q’s Quest, next year. Announcements will be posted on the website a few months prior to the race.  You can also help us by creating your own fundraiser or by making a donation.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mary Lamb's Crab feast

"The Johns Hopkins Research CrabFeast was a wondeful event.  Everyone enjoyed the awesome Crabs, Steamed Corn, Fried Chicken, MD Crab Soup, Hamburgers and Hot Dogs while raising money for a cause very dear to my family and I.  The best part about the events is the attendance of Dr. Q., his family and the Q Team.  The dedication of these wonderful people makes one realize they really are working as a team to find a cure!" 

- Mary Lamb

Dear Friends,

On behalf of my entire team, thank you for your support of Mary Lamb's Crab feast that was held on Sunday, September 18.  Your contribution allowed us to host an outstanding event, and we are very  grateful for your support.  We are proud to announce that the event drew over 265 participants and raised $9000 for brain tumor research.

All proceeds from her event will be dedicated to supporting my team's research efforts in the fight against brain tumors which is focused on understanding the biology of brain tumors, investigating effective therapies to treat the tumors, and eventually finding a cure.  Your support has a direct and immediate impact on our ability to keep pushing the boundaries of scientific discovery.

Your generosity is deeply appreciated.  Our patients, families, scientists, and clinicians thank you.  We look forward to planning next year's event by building on this year's success.  Please save the date for the Bull and Shrimp Feast on January 14, 2012 which will be held at the Annapolis Elks Lodge # 622; we hope to see you there!

Warmest regards,

Dr Q

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

From a guest writer: Ms Lee Hendler - Johns Hopkins Trustee

Dr Q and his team came for dinner at our home this past Friday night. “Q” is short for  Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa which is a mouthful. Dr Q, the neurosurgeon who directs the Brain Tumor Surgery program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Center and the Pituitary Surgery Program at the hospital, is a charismatic personality. Even our neurotic border collie, Jake, was charmed by him. It was easy to see why he attracts people of all kinds. He touches people constantly, grips your arm, pats your back and dispenses hugs without hesitation. Our 14 year old schipperke instantly threw herself at his feet knowing she would get the attention she craves.  He embodies the American dream, having risen from illegal immigrant to star medical practitioner in the most exacting of all medical sciences. Alfredo neither forgets his humble origins nor the fact that many people contributed to his success. He has a grueling work ethic but hasn’t lost his sense of humor. He laughs readily and often—mostly at his own expense. We laughed about the Mexican hairless dog his family adopted through a dog rescue service because his kids didn’t want him to forget his “peeps.” Unfortunately the dog couldn’t forget the climate for which he was bred and refused to go outside during our Baltimore winters. Rescue went out the window and the dog, so ugly he was cute, returned to Arizona.

Over the days leading up to the dinner, the invitation list kept growing.  I was struck by his team’s global character. Dr. Q apologized as he added two more guests the day before. I apologized in return. We could only seat sixteen at the same table, but I wondered if he could dig up another nation or two for our mini UN forum? We had Argentina, Mexico, China, Belgium and a roster of names so challenging I would never make it through the evening without a cheat sheet.  Emily, the event coordinator, sent the attendee CV’s and Rich and I marveled at the array of talent. We decided that it would be prudent to speak little and listen a lot. Despite demanding operating schedules and lab experiments, everyone arrived on time and we enjoyed 4 hours together over a Shabbat meal.  We don’t go “out” on Friday nights so we couldn’t accept the invitation to join their Friday night end of the week ritual when they gather for a meal at the lab. They share important findings and often invite a guest patient to keep their work, as Dr. Q and I discussed, “down to earth and honest.”

When your goal is curing brain cancer, it’s easy to get lost in the clouds. A patient living with the monster can bring you back to the ground. On the other hand, so can the memory of a loved one who died of the disease. We were deeply moved to hear how often  personal experiences with brain trauma and disease had touched the lives of these young people . I won’t pretend to remember or even fully understand all the work that these brilliant young researchers were doing. You can go on Dr Q’s  website       to read all about it. My big takeaway was this: in an era when so many of us have become addicted to the gratification of instant answers and quick results, these young people—equally divided between men and women— have deliberately committed themselves to a goal that is painstakingly slow and undeniably distant. Their work proceeds in miniscule increments that require remarkable discipline, commitment and skill. “Don’t you ever get bored?” I asked. All heads swiveled to my end of the table. They looked at me as if I had asked, “Is it possible that the earth is flat?” It wasn’t a stupid question—just an inconceivable one. “No!” Pragathi replied, ”one small thing leads to another. It opens up.” 

“Like Windows?”  
“Yes, like that.”

Beaming as he surveyed the table, like Guy Lombardi talking about a championship team bearing down on a trophy, Dr Q declared, “What one of them discovers today may lead to a cure 50 years from now.”  I never want to take on the adversary they are all determined to vanquish. But I am so grateful “the Q team” is committed to the battle. They lose patients they come to love and admire almost every day. They suit up in rigor and vision to celebrate US so that one day we won’t have to dread the fight.