Thursday, February 27, 2014
Leukemia, lymphoma research opportunity includes free pancakes

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Mardi Gras will be upon us on March 4. One of the Mardi Gras traditions is to cook pancakes. The idea is to use up rich foods like sugar, milk and eggs. The reason is related to the fasting that begins the following day on Ash Wednesday. The bone marrow is responsible for producing infection fighting cells. They are called white blood cells. Some of these cells are found in the blood stream. Some of them are found in the lymph nodes. When the bone marrow is involved in cancer producing cells, the condition is called leukemia. When there is cancer of the lymph nodes, it is known as lymphoma. Both leukemia and lymphoma represent forms of white blood cell cancers. As I write this article it is Feb. 13. Our office just had a new patient diagnosed with leukemia today. When I was a pediatric resident, we had more in-patients with leukemia at any given time. They were hospitalized more frequently. They stayed longer so they filled the beds. Between then and now, we have come a long way. Our cure rate for childhood leukemia is over 90%. That has happened due to many dollars spent on researching the best way to treat it. One might wonder why Mardi Gras and leukemia/lymphoma belong in the same article. They are not normally related. However, every year, we are offered the opportunity to put the two together. Treating cancer takes money. IHOP recognizes that, so every year at Mardi Gras time they roll out a program to help raise money for fighting leukemia/lymphoma. On Tuesday, March 5, IHOP will have its annual fundraiser. They will be offering a free short stack of pancakes to customers. In return for the free pancakes, IHOP is asking for a donation to be given to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It is billed as National Pancake Day, however, you can celebrate it as Mardi Gras. About $120 million is spent every year by the NIH for lymphoma research alone. We often do not think of things like giving money for medical research. However, once a year we have the opportunity to do that in a relatively easy fashion. We can take the opportunity to go to IHOP. We can get pancakes. We can then take money that we would have spent for pancakes to help support leukemia and lymphoma research. Most of us know more than one individual with leukemia or lymphoma. Back in 1997, I was visiting my sister. She told me my nephew was not feeling well. I took a look at him and I told her to get him to the doctor. He had leukemia. He is now almost 14 years post diagnosis. His successful treatment might not have been possible without research money. This is an opportunity for us to contribute to future success stories like this one.

Parkinson Support Group The Parkinson Education and Support Group of Sussex County will hold its regularly scheduled monthly meeting at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 3, in The Lutheran Church of Our Savior, 20276 Bay Vista Rd., Rehoboth Beach. Michelle Poynton-Marsh will discuss speech therapy. Contact Dennis Leebel, 644-3465, for more information.

2014 Walk MS dates announced The Delaware Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has announced the 2014 Walk MS dates and invites all Delawareans to join the movement. Twilight at Heritage Shores will be held on Friday, May 30. Registration starts at 5 p.m. and the walk kicks-off at 6. Each year, thousands of participants come out to celebrate hope and the accomplishments made in the MS Movement, said Linda Risk, development director. Our dedicated walkers raised almost $300,000 last year. To register for any of the walks, visit or call 302-655-5610. For more information about MS in Delaware, visit

Hospice plans pet loss workshop Delaware Hospices Family Support Center will hold a free two-part workshop on Caring for Aging Pets and the Grief of Pet Loss from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, March 1, at the Delaware Hospice Center, Milford. This two-part workshop will examine how to improve the quality of life for our aging companions. The first session is Caring for Aging Pets:  How to Improve the Quality of Life of our Aging Companions, with guest speaker Dr. Christina Dayton-Wall, DVM PLUS. 

The second session is The Grief of Pet Loss, with guest speaker Laurie Vonasek, RN.Those who have lost pets may bring a photo for the Remembrance Table. Registration is required by Thursday, Feb. 27. Register by contacting Michelle August at 800-838-9800 or

Tobacco Cessation Program offered Bayhealth offers a free seven-week program that offers support and guidance to help individuals ages 18 and up quit using tobacco products. The next class series will meet each Tuesday from April 8 to May 20 from 5 to 6:30 p.m., in the Rehab Conference Room at Bayhealth Milford Memorial. Call 1-877-453-7107 or 744-7135 to register. For questions and more information, contact Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC clinical educator, at 744-6724.

Easter Seals receives grant Easter Seals Delaware & Marylands Eastern Shore has received a $5,000 Autism Speaks Chapter Grant to better serve children with autism at Easter Seals Camp Fairlee, a place where children with autism can enjoy a residential camp among their peers. Easter Seals will use the grant to train staff in cutting-edge behavioral interventions for children with autism and to support a consultant with over 15 years of experience with children with autism spectrum disorder to be onsite during the summer sessions offered this year.

Breast Health Forum returns The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) announces the next ¡VIDA!" Multicultural Breast Health Forum will take place at the Multicultural Church and Community Center in Milford on Saturday, March 29 from noon to 4 p.m. The forum will feature free health screenings, information about breast health, and vendors from various nonprofit, health, business, and media organizations. A kids corner will be available for children of all ages. Pre-registration for the event is not required but you must call 1-888-672-9647 to register for a mammogram. For more information, contact Cheryl Doucette at 302-672-6435.

Southern Delaware Kidney Walk The National Kidney Foundation of Maryland (NKF-MD) will hold its sixth annual Southern Delaware Kidney Walk, Sunday, Apr. 27, at Cape Henlopen State Park in Lewes. Kidney disease is the 9th leading cause of death in the United States and kills more people every year than breast cancer, prostate cancer or leukemia. Check-in and festivities begin at 9 a.m. at the Picnic Pavilion. The walk will kick off at 10. Participants can choose from a 3.2-mile trail or a shorter trail for strollers and wheelchairs. Enjoy refreshments from Surf Bagel and Aquafina, music from Moonbeam Entertainment and the Kidney Kids Corner with face painting and games. With a $10 donation, dogs and owners can be a part of the Kidney Paws for a Cause and receive a goody bag with dog treats, as well as engraved dog tags from All Aboard Grooming and Kennels. There is no registration fee, but Cape Henlopen State Park charges an entrance fee of $4 for vehicles registered in Delaware and $8 for vehicles registered outside of Delaware. All participants who raise a minimum of $100 will earn a 2013 Kidney Walk t-shirt. For pre-registration or information about sponsorship or volunteer opportunities, call 410-726-8732 or visit 

Body art business shut down Delawares Division of Public Health (DPH) closed a New Castle County body art business, True Heart, of Wilmington, on Feb. 20, for violation of regulations under Title 16 of the Delaware Code. DPH encourages customers and employees who may have received services at this facility from September 2013 through Feb. 20, 2014, to contact their health care provider for evaluation for diseases such as hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that may have been transmitted through unsterile equipment. Approximately 480 people obtained body art services from the business during that time and will be contacted by DPH by letter urging them to contact their medical provider. Delawareans can also contact DPHs Office of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at 888-295-5156 with questions about health risks.