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Health Center Today, December 2, 2009

Medical Students Share Stories from Leaís Foundation Cross-country Bike Trek

By Maureen McGuire

Photo of John Namnoun, Gary Laurito, Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, Tony Faustini, Drew Cathers, Dina Papler, Katherine Farmer and Ross Bickford

During a meeting at the Health Center last week, Dr. Cato T. Laurencin and leaders with the Leaís Foundation for Leukemia Research thanked participants in the 2009 Coast to Coast for a Cure bike ride. Standing, left to right: John Namnoun and Gary Laurito (Leaís Foundation), Laurencin, 2009 riders Tony Faustini and Drew Cathers. Seated, left to right: Dina Papler (UConn Foundation), riders Katherine Farmer and Ross Bickford.

Though they havenít had much time for bike riding since the school year began, a group of second-year medical students recently had a chance to share stories about their seven-week bike trek across the country last summer during a meeting with Dr. Cato T. Laurencin, the Health Centerís vice president for Health Affairs and dean of the UConn School of Medicine, and leaders with the Leaís Foundation for Leukemia Research.

Students Katherine Farmer, Ross Bickford, Drew Cathers and Tony Faustini told Laurencin and others of their amazing experiences on the road and the kindness of many who supported their efforts.

To date, the 2009 "Coast to Coast for a Cure" bike riding event to support the Leaís Foundation, has already raised more than $25,000. Donations are still being accepted. To learn more, visit

This annual event began in 2006 through the inspiration of Drs. Jeremiah Tracy and Ben Ristau, who were then at the end of their first year of medical school. Donations go to the Leaís Foundation, which generously supports research and clinical care within the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center.