Oral cancer survivors and their families recently joined dental and nursing students, residents, and faculty of New York University Colleges of Dentistry and Nursing for the Ninth Annual Oral Cancer Walk to benefit the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF). The OCF is a national public service, non-profit entity designed to reduce suffering and save lives through prevention, education, research, advocacy, and patient support activities.
This year’s walk, a first for inter-borough travel, took a record number of walkers on a 4-mile route over the Williamsburg Bridge from Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan to Bushwick Inlet Park in Brooklyn. More than 875 walkers participated, raising nearly $62,000 for the OCF.
“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.
As part of the event, 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 participants were screened during the event. According to the OCF, the key to survival is awareness, prevention, and early detection. “If detected in its earliest stages, oral cancer is easily treated,” the organization says.
“The OCF channels the Walk’s donations into worthy research projects with meaningful results,” said Alexander R Kerr, DDS, MSD, Chair of the NYU College of Dentistry Oral Cancer Walk. “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.”
According to Kerr, “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, participants from the Oral Cancer Foundation, the Oral Cancer Consortium, and QWASI.