Tag Archives: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

$1.4M raised for cancer in sixth annual RBC Decathlon at St. John’s

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy Dmitry Gudkov

The sixth annual RBC Decathlon was held at St. John’s University on Sunday and raised $1.4 million for cancer research.

The contest, which tests the physical fitness of Wall Street’s workers, fielded hundreds of competitors from the financial industry for the 10-event competition on DaSilva Memorial Field.

Mark Rubin of Barclays won the male side for the third consecutive year, while Jennifer Lidel of TradeLink Securities finished first in the female section.

Competitors were tested in a 400-meter run, football throw, pull-ups, 40-yard dash, dips, 500-meter row, vertical jump, 20-yard shuttle, bench press and an 800-meter run.

The money raised for the event will be donated to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.



Queens smoking cessation program to no longer receive state grant money: sources

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com


State funds to aid programs helping smokers put an end to their habit are calling it quits in Queens.

The Queens Courier has learned that Queens Quits, a partnership between the Queens Health Network, the American Cancer Society and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, will no longer receive grant money from the New York State Department of Health (DOH).

Queens Quits is one of the state DOH’s Tobacco Control Program Cessation Networks, and continued funding would allow it to keep reaching out to over 6,000 health care providers in the borough, asking patients about tobacco usage and providing interventions, training, materials and feedback.

From 2005 to present, Queens Quits has conducted 346 trainings and has collaborated with 6,073 health care partakers including physicians, nurses and dentists, sources told The Courier. Also for the past five years the New York State Smokers’ Quitline for the New York metro area has gotten 3,236 referrals from Queens, compared to 2,288 from Manhattan, 2,102 from Brooklyn and 1,700 from the Bronx, sources said.

Instead, NYU Medical Center will now receive the funds for the city and will manage all the outer boroughs out of a Manhattan office, a source told The Courier.

“Though disappointed in losing its grant, Queens Cancer Center and Queens Hospital remain committed to reducing smoking in Queens, and will continue to support smoking cessation efforts in any way possible,” the Queens Cancer Center of Queens Hospital said in a statement.

According to the state DOH, the 2014 Health Systems for a Tobacco-Free New York grants were awarded based on a competitive Request for Applications (RFA) process.

Applications were requested from “organizations that will work to engage health care systems to improve the delivery of guideline-concordant care for tobacco dependence through systems and policy change at the organizational level.”

Following a comprehensive review of all applications, awards were made to organizations that best met these criteria, the NYS DOH said in a statement.



Astoria resident running for Queens in NYC Marathon

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Salvatore Polizzi

Like many New Yorkers, Salvatore Polizzi had for years told himself he would run in the New York City marathon by the time he reached 30.

The decision to run a marathon usually rests in achieving a life-long goal and testing your limits. But the year Polizzi, a native of Ridgewood, turned 30 coincided with his mother, Anna, being diagnosed with cervical cancer. He always had a desire to run; now he had a reason.

“I’ve made it a point since 2009 to stop imagining a world without cancer, but actually start fighting for one,” Polizzi said.

Not wanting to just sit on the sidelines, Polizzi’s fight began with running the ING New York City Marathon that year as part of Fred’s Team of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, helping raise money for cancer research.

This year, the 32-year-old will continue raising money during his run while also competing as the Queens representative in the Foot Locker Five Borough Challenge.

For the 12th time, Foot Locker is pitting five strangers – one from each borough – to participate in a unique “race within a race.” Foot Locker chooses competitors who overcome challenges through sheer will, positivity and running.

“It’s an honor to be among the group chosen and I hope that, among the many wonderful experiences that will undoubtedly present themselves, my efforts will shine a spotlight on my cause,” he said.

The marathoners will run together over the first half of the race. Once they finish mile 13, the race within the race commences and the runners will be competing for borough bragging rights, along with a Tiffany trophy and a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice.

The Pace University graduate owns and operates the pizzeria and Italian eatery, Tony’s in Bushwick, which his parents opened 35 years ago. The long days and nights running the restaurant do not provide Polizzi with optimal training time, but he manages to find opportunities – usually while the rest of the world sleeps.

A normal day begins at about 5 a.m., allowing Polizzi to get a one-hour morning workout before beginning his workday that lasts until 11 p.m. This is where the real marathon training begins. Once Polizzi gets back to his Astoria home, he grabs his running shoes. Those two hours when many have already hit the sack is when Polizzi hits the streets.

“They call it ‘the city that never sleeps,’ but it’s very peaceful,” he said of running at night.

The alone time and peacefulness of the runs is something Polizzi has needed in a turbulent time.

Polizzi, the second oldest of six, lost a brother in September to wounds suffered during a home invasion.

“Running alone puts you at peace to some degree,” Polizzi said. “No matter what challenges; no matter what’s going on, every step you take is a challenge. [Running] settles me, it grounds me, it focuses me. Not that you put things on the back burner, but you can put things into perspective.”

Polizzi was born and raised in Ridgewood, attending Grover Cleveland High School where he played baseball and ran track – to the dismay and surprise of many doctors.

The summer before Polizzi’s freshman year, he was struck by a car, shattering his ankle which required surgery and pins to be inserted.

“Doctors told me I would have to say goodbye to certain things,” Polizzi recalled. “I wasn’t going to be able to do the things athletically I did before.”

But being told he couldn’t do it made him all the more determined to prove the doctors wrong.

“I was on the track team for all four years,” he said. “The doctors thought I was crazy.”

That hard work and determination will come in handy when Polizzi is racing through the five boroughs. He aims to finish the marathon within three-and-a-half hours. During the race when many marathoners run to the sounds of their iPod, Polizzi will rely on the sounds of the city and its residents for inspiration.

“I would miss the feel of the crowd, the excitement from the crowd,” Polizzi said of racing with an iPod at the November 6 race. “The best thing about the marathon is [the spectators] inspire you to run faster. It’s an amazing feeling. You got a feel for what New York is really about, how amazingly inspiring they could be.”

And Polizzi knows what New York is really about, having grown up in Queens, with a family restaurant in Brooklyn and attending college in Manhattan, which is why representing his borough is all the more nerve- racking, he said. He wants to put his and the borough’s best foot forward.

“Queens is my home, Queens is where I grew up,” Polizzi said. “I want to bring this home for Queens, put the spotlight on Queens. I think I’ll be able to pull it off.”

To donate to Fred’s Team of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in support of vital cancer research visit http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR/FredsTeamEvents/Freds_Team?px=1961618&pg=personal&fr_id=1460