Thursday, January 28, 2016

Collaboration on the Court

When I met Brenda Frese, head coach of the University of Maryland women’s basketball team, in October 2014, I knew of her accomplishments as a head basketball coach, but I had no idea about the depth of what makes her such a special person.  I felt the same way when I met Dr. Curt Civin, a researcher at the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, when I met him in April of 2014.  Little did I know that Play4TheCure would be the program that would bring these two leaders together with me, and lead to a collaboration to make a difference in the fight against cancer. On February 28, 2016, Brenda’s team will Play4TheCure at the Xfinity Center in College Park, MD, to help raise money and awareness to support the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR), which supports research in Dr. Civin’s laboratory.  And Dr. Civin will be on hand to cheer on the Brenda’s team.

It’s a natural connection because Dr. Civin spent 26 years at Johns Hopkins before moving to the University of Maryland, and in 2010 Brenda’s son Tyler was diagnosed with childhood leukemia, and treated at John Hopkins. Dr. Civin became well known and earned the 1999 National Inventor of the Year Award for his groundbreaking scientific discovery in 1984 of a method for isolating stem cells from other blood cells, a critical step in studying them and for transplanting these cells into patients. Discoveries from his laboratory are used today in both clinical bone marrow stem cell transplantation and leukemia diagnosis. 

So now, both Brenda Frese and Curt Civin are proud representatives of the University of Maryland. Bringing these two passionate leaders together to raise money and awareness for cancer research at NFCR through the women’s basketball team will show the power of true collaboration.  Both are mentors in their fields. Dr. Civin was one of two physicians to receive the American Society of Hematology’s (ASH) 2015 Mentor Award, which honors outstanding commitment to the training and career development of early-career hematologists. Since her first season at the helm when the team won just 10 games, Brenda Frese has guided Maryland to a National Championship in 2006, 12 winning seasons, 11-straight 20-win seasons, five 30-win campaigns and 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament.  Dr. Civin will be recognized at halftime, and Brenda will lead her team in the game. Both true representatives of a great university. #Play4TheCure #Gratitude