LOUISVILLE, Ky. –This year, 11 University of Louisville School of Medicine students will run in the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and give their medals to pediatric patients being treated for cancer by UofL faculty. The medical students are participating in Medals4Mettle, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit organization that links athletes and critically ill individuals.
First-year medical student Riley Jones organized this first contingent of UofL Medals4Mettle runners.
“We are donating our medals to recognize the courageous efforts of these children and their families who spend every day fighting cancer,” said Jones.
The patients receiving the medals range in age from 3–17 years old. All but two of the 11 children are undergoing cancer treatment. Two have brain cancer, one has bone cancer, one has ovarian cancer and the rest have acute lymphocytic leukemia. The children were chosen to receive the medals in consultation with the child psychologist and nursing staff of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Specialists, a practice operated by faculty members of the UofL Department of Pediatrics.
“I know this will be a positive experience for our patients,” said Salvatore Bertolone, chief of the UofL Division of Hematology, Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplant. “This program will also make our students better doctors. It’s one thing to read about a disease and another to see the impact that disease has on the patient and their families. This makes it real.”
The medical students will meet their patients Friday, April 17, 1:30 p.m., at a party at the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Specialists office, 601 South Floyd Street, Suite 403.
The students will present their medals to their patient partners on Sunday, April 26, 1:30 p.m., UofL Abell Building, 323 E. Chestnut Street, Room 110.
See www.medals4mettle.org for information about the program.