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All-Stars in Cancer Awareness Visit Siteman

Jason Merrill

July 13, 2009 – Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game not only brought baseball’s best to St. Louis, but it also brought some of the nation’s leaders in cancer awareness to the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine – with one surprise in tow.

As part of All-Star Week, Major League Baseball and Stand Up To Cancer partnered for a July 12 visit to Siteman to meet cancer center patients and survivors.

While Nancy Brinker, founder of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization and sister of Susan G. Komen; Sherry Lansing, former CEO of Paramount Pictures and founder of Stand Up To Cancer; and Michael Milkin, founder of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, were expected for the visit, a surprise came when Shawn Johnson – Olympic gold medalist and winner of ABC-TV’s Dancing With The Stars – arrived with their entourage.

“Oh my God – Shawn Johnson!” was Kim Lee’s reaction when the group walked into her room on Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s leukemia and lymphoma floor. Lee, a 35-year old battling acute lyhmpoblastic leukemia (ALL) since April 2008, was floored when physician, John DiPersio, MD, PhD, deputy director of Siteman, escorted the group into her room.

“I’m still on cloud nine,” says Lee. “I spent the day on the phone calling my friends.”

While Johnson’s appearance was unexpected, Brinker, Lansing and Milkin made huge impressions as well. As the Komen St. Louis Race for the Cure continues to grow with more than 66,000 participants in 2009, Brinker’s impact on breast cancer awareness in St. Louis is unmatched, according to Lisa Facer. A breast cancer survivor and Siteman volunteer, she presented the group with T-shirts in their honor. “This is a morning I will never forget,” she says.

Overall, the group spent close to two hours visiting patients at Siteman. To see pictures of the visit, click here