About 100 amateur athletes gathered at Rice University on Nov. 5 to compete in the D10 Decathlon’s first ever Houston event. The sporting event pushes the limits of athletes’ speed, strength and endurance not only for bragging rights, but also for a more noble cause: eliminating pediatric cancer.
Athletes completed a series of 10 drills designed to test their fitness: a 400-meter run, a football throw, pull ups, a 40-yard dash, dips, a 500-meter row, a vertical jump, a 20-yard shuttle, a bench press and an 800-meter run. Each rep helped fund childhood cancer research.
“The mission … is to celebrate the brilliance of amateur athletes through a world-class sporting production that produces a profound social impact, as much as it produces a meaningful economical and philanthropic impact in each of the communities that hosts the events,” said Dave Maloney, founder of the D10 Decathlon.
Founded in 2009 in New York City, the D10 Decathlon has raise more than $7 million to support pediatric cancer research through the Pediatric Oncology Experimental Therapeutics Investigator’s Consortium (POETIC), a group of 11 major cancer care centers and research institutions — including The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center — that aims to conduct early-stage clinical trials of promising cancer therapies for children. The event held this weekend raised a total of $223,388 to benefit early phase trials at MD Anderson.
“Over the years, we’ve struggled with funding these trials,” said POETIC principal investigator Cynthia Herzog, M.D., deputy division head of pediatrics at MD Anderson. “Through the decathlon, it’s allowed us to conduct some investigator-initiated trials that we wouldn’t otherwise been able to do.”
The National Cancer Institute allocated nearly $8 billion to cancer research in 2014, but only 2.6 percent of those funds went towards childhood cancers. And while medical advancements have been made to reduce overall cancer death rates in children, more concerted efforts and resources are still needed to help the 15,780 children who are diagnosed with cancer each year.
“If you’ve got somewhere around an 80 percent cure rate for pediatric cancer, that’s good if you’re a free-throw shooter or playing baseball, but an 80 percent cure rate is not great if you’re a parent,” Maloney said. “That makes private philanthropy necessary to bridge the gap and increase that cure rate because there’s simply not enough money allocated to pediatric cancer research.”
The decathlon had special meaning for a few competitors who participated to honor their friends and family members affected by cancer.
Randy Giveans, a senior associate at global investment banking firm Jefferies, participated in the New York City D10 events for the past three years as a way to give back to the community and raise awareness for the cause. But the recent loss of a family member motivated his performance at the Houston event. Earlier this year, Giveans’ father-in-law was diagnosed with leukemia. He received a few blood transfusions in February and March, but he passed away in April.
“It was tough for my wife and for myself, but it gave me new motivation and a further incentive to really fundraise and try to perform my best,” said Giveans, who placed third in the individual competition and helped raise more than $4,700.
The D10 Decathlon recently moved its base of operations from New York City to Houston and added other cities, including Boston, Chicago and San Francisco. Maloney and his team are currently planning an international expansion with the debut of London and Shanghai events in 2017.
Baylor College of Medicine will be closed Monday, May 28 in observance of Memorial Day. https://t.co/6CNQMhyJ92
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Baylor College of Medicine will be closed Monday, May 28 in observance of Memorial Day.
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At sprawling VA hospital in southern Dallas, a righteous battle to keep the promise to care for America's Veterans https://t.co/yBX7Jqyn6X via @dallasnews
6.1, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.: Join @MethodistHosp Cancer Center at St. John for a celebration and luncheon as we honor those living with a history of cancer. Register today: https://t.co/epZbgu9fA0 https://t.co/FLv19JSQs0
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Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran M. Ross Kirk. Ross served for 28 years and retired in 1988. He attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. Ross served two tours in Vietnam with the 4/39th Infantry Battalion, the 9th Infantry Division and the 5th Special Forces Group with the Chaplain Corps. He was also a member of the 101st Airborne Division, the 18th Airborne Corps 1st Division, and the Green Beret Parachute Demonstration Team. He wore the Green Beret on active duty for nine years and is nicknamed the “Leapin’ Deacon” due to his 225 military jumps, including 50 HALO (high altitude, low opening) jumps and 450 sport parachute jumps. Ross’ positions in the Army included Command Chaplain for the Special Operations Command (Airborne) and Senior Chaplain of the Combined Peacekeeping Forces in the liberation of Grenada. He retired at Fort Riley, Kansas in 1988 and has lived with his wife Judy in Wakefield, Kansas for 27 years. They have four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Ross was awarded four Bronze Stars, five Air Medals, the Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He also earned the Ranger Tab, the Special Forces Tab and Master Parachutist and Air Assault Badges. Thank you for your service, Ross!
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Congratulations to M.D/Ph.D. student Muhammad Saad Shamim on becoming a 2018 fellow of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans program.
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