News Release

May 31, 2007

Contact: Christopher DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

Jennifer Clair, 203-671-5236

Media Alert

Gearing Up for Cross-Country Bike Trek

UConn Med Students Raising Money to Fight Blood Cancers

FARMINGTON, CONN. – The University of Connecticut Health Center is holding a sendoff ceremony for the six-member cycling team taking part in this year’s Coast-to-Coast for a Cure to benefit Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research.

Who: Cheyenne Beach, Lindsay Brown, Nikki Goulet and Jared Spilka are from the UConn School of Medicine Class of 2010. Mike Brown, an undergraduate at Bentley College, and Josh Weinshank, a law student at Western New England College, round out the team.

What: The students will fly to San Francisco, then start pedaling east, expecting to cover about four thousand miles in less than nine weeks. Their goal is to raise $100,000 for Lea’s Foundation, which provides financial support to blood cancer research efforts at the UConn Health Center. The Foundation has pledged $1.25 million for a Center for Hematologic Disorders on the Health Center campus in Farmington.

When/Where: The sendoff is at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 6, at the center courtyard at the UConn Health Center (use the main Health Center entrance and proceed straight to the courtyard). If rain, the ceremony will take place in the academic lobby (use main entrance and ask for directions).

Carolyn Runowicz, M.D., director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keat Sanford, Ph.D., assistant dean of Medical School Admissions and Medical Student Affairs, and Ben Ristau, a second-year UConn med student who co-founded (and completed) Coast-to-Coast for a Cure last year, will be among the speakers.

Details about Lea’s Foundation, as well as the ride -- including the cross-country itinerary, and information on how to make a contribution or become a sponsor -- are available at Donors also can call 860-727-8998.

The students depart June 10, and are available for interviews before and during their trip.

UConn Health includes the schools of medicine and dental medicine, the UConn Medical Group, University Dentists, and John Dempsey Hospital. Home to Bioscience Connecticut, UConn Health pursues a mission of providing outstanding health care education in an environment of exemplary patient care, research and public service. More information about UConn Health is available at

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