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GIST Support International - Essen Sarcoma Bike Tour
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Tour-Sarcoma 2006,  Essen, Germany

Our first participation as a “satellite” team of the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative’s Team Sarcoma 2006 project took place on one of the hottest days of the year in the middle of the FIFA football world championship.  Thirty determined bikers met in the early afternoon in front of the famous Gruga-Center, one of the largest indoor stadiums in Germany, to receive an early briefing of the tour.  Among the participants were patients and their relatives, representatives from the GIST-initiative “Das Lebenshaus”, sarcoma surgeons, oncologists (including a participant in the 8th month of her pregnancy), radiotherapists, anaesthesiologists, etc.

1. Dr. Bauer gives a briefing of the upcoming tour

The tour comprised 30km of hilly terrain that led around the beautiful Lake Baldeney.

2. Increasing tensions before the tour at 32° C

Just after the start of the tour the peloton encountered their first challenging situation when they passed a strawberry field and were forced to have their first picnic…

3. Shocked by the invasion of 30 hungry Tour Sarcoma bikers

After about 90 minutes of beautiful riding the first destination was reached – the Lake Baldeney and the starting point for a 2 kilometer mountain stage (150 meters height) that led up to the “Hohes Kreuz” (“high cross”) of Fischlaken, Essen.

4.  Karl Pelzing, husband to GIST patient Karin

The race started with a fierce attack from oncologist Dr. Axel Schneider who was chased by Surgeon Dr. Schmitz and medical student Simeon Schietzel.  Schietzel’s youth finally made the race and he outpaced his experienced colleagues (easily).

5. Winners of the mountain stage

The seniors category was won by Karl Pelzing, the women’s race went to oncologist Dr. Cathrin Walter and the youth medal went to Leonhard Ruchholtz, son of sarcoma surgeon Prof. Steffen Ruchholtz.

6. Mrs. Pelzing (right) and Mrs. Wartenberg (in spe, left) heal the wounds after the mountain stage…

Exhausted from the race, the peloton had a break at the Lake Baldeney where GIST patient and Director of the regional group of “Das Lebenshaus”-GIST-Initiative Karin Pelzing was waiting along with the girl friend of GIST patient and Lebenshaus-Representative Kai Pilgermann to treat everyone with fruits, drinks and a beautiful view.

7. Lake Baldeney

After one flat tire on the way home, the peloton was torn apart but everybody finally arrived at the “army tent” in front of the operating room of the Essen University hospital.

8. “Camp” in front of the University Hospital

With the central air-suction system for the hospital just in front of us, everybody inside the hospital was able to enjoy the smell of sausages with us.

9. Gunter Strohbach - Chef of Essen's Tour Sarcoma 2006

With the help of the pathology assistant Gunter Strohbach the riders were greeted with a convincing barbecue to get ready for the medal ceremony.

10. The proud winners of the Liddy Shriver Tour Sarcoma Event

The post-tour event was then started by Sarcoma Surgeon Dr. Georg Taeger and Dr. Sebastian Bauer with an introduction of all participants which allowed patients to meet the sarcoma specialists and vice versa. Karin Pelzing, director of the regional branch of “Das Lebenshaus” and GIST patient herself introduced the work of the GIST-Initiative, which to this date, is the only sarcoma initiative in Germany.

The money raised by the event totalled the sum of almost 500€ which will be donated to the GIST Support International (GSI)-Team-funds that participated in the central event in Denmark at the same time.  All funds will go to the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative and will be used to sponsor sarcoma research.  All participants were already looking forward to join the event next year and help expanding the idea of “sarcoma knows no borders”.

11.  Tour Sarcoma Essen greets all Tour Sarcomas in the world!

Organizers of the tour / post-tour event were Dr. Georg Taeger and Prof. Steffen Ruchholz (surgical oncology), Dr. Florian Grabellus and Dr. Sien Yi Sheu (pathology), Britta Taeger and Dr. Sebastian Bauer (medical oncology).

Special thanks and greetings are sent to Bruce Shriver (from the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative), Lee Ann Lamb and Marina Symcox (from GSI Support International) to name the representatives we know- from the USA for their leadership in founding their sarcoma initiatives, building bridges, bringing people together, raising awareness and promoting research in an orphan disease like sarcoma.

Thanks also to Boehringer Ingelheim, who generously supported the event.

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