Two Cancer Survivors Awarded the Trip of a Lifetime with the Team Sarcoma Initiative

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The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative is pleased to announce the recipients of the Moments in Sarcoma awards. German De la Rosa Cabrera of Mexico City, Mexico, and Todd Andrews of Minneapolis, MN, have been chosen to receive sponsorships for the Team Sarcoma Initiative bike tour from July 18-25, 2009.

Having battled osteosarcoma for five years now, there were plenty of moments I could have written about. But when I thought back to right after I was diagnosed, other than the actual bad news, this was the moment that stood out.

The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative is pleased to announce the recipients of the Moments in Sarcoma awards. German De la Rosa Cabrera of Mexico City, Mexico, and Todd Andrews of Minneapolis, MN, have been chosen to receive sponsorships for the Team Sarcoma Initiative bike tour from July 18-25, 2009.

The online Moments in Sarcoma challenge invited participants to write briefly about their experiences with sarcoma, a rare and dangerous disease that accounts for 1% of cancer cases. Poignant submissions poured in from around the world, and one entry is published daily at the Team Sarcoma website.

De la Rosa Cabrera's submission summarized his struggle with osteosarcoma and his life now, 13 years later. When he was just 14, De la Rosa Cabrera injured his knee playing basketball. Like many sarcoma patients, he thought the swollen mass was just an injury, but six months later he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. While his peers were out playing sports, he endured chemotherapy and surgery.

"It was very difficult to live with. You really don't know what to do. I personally think it helped me to mature and grow, to see life from another point of view and to appreciate the moments I am presented with in life," De la Rosa Cabrera said.

Doctors in Mexico City removed the tumor and saved De la Rosa Cabrera's leg, but he dealt with pain and additional surgeries for the next ten years. Finally, he chose to have an amputation.

"It was a painful process for ten years, and the decision to amputate the leg freed me. I am in better health without suffering, and I can do more independent living…playing sports and in my band," De la Rosa Cabrera explained. At the age of 26, he is now enjoying a full life: "I'm an audio engineer, music producer, bassist and vocalist of my band, Televisor. I'm helping people who suffer through similar situations."

De la Rosa Cabrera is looking forward to seeing new places and experiencing the bike tour with other cancer survivors. His message is one of hope: "Cancer doesn't mean death.... Cancer is part of life. It helps us to mature and see life in a different way and makes us better people."

Andrews' submission described a powerful moment during an MRI scan five years ago. He was grasping for hope when the song "Here Comes the Sun" started playing in the background. Andrews, 31, explains: "Having battled osteosarcoma for five years now, there were plenty of moments I could have written about. But when I thought back to right after I was diagnosed, other than the actual bad news, this was the moment that stood out."

When Andrews developed metastasis in 2005, he was given some grim statistics. He recalls, "I was certainly scared, but I wasn't about to call it quits. I figure, given the incredibly slim odds of even getting this cancer in the first place, I've already kind of 'won the cancer lottery,' so why can't I overcome the odds and keep on living?"

Andrews grew up riding in bike tours with his family and is eager to relive a bit of his childhood. Even while on chemotherapy, he is excited about building up his strength and sharing the experience with his wife and father. His wife, Karen, said: "The bike tour gives Todd something to work towards physically and mentally, and participating in this event after dealing with so many setbacks will be a real source of pride for him."

Andrews also hopes to advance the cause for sarcoma research. He explained: "There are no 'insignificant' cancers - they all need to be researched and studied. But I think because sarcomas are less prevalent than other cancers, they tend to be under-funded and under-studied, and that is really no excuse. The Team Sarcoma Initiative is helping fill a big need in raising money to study sarcomas and hopefully eliminate them once and for all."

To learn more about the Team Sarcoma Initiative, view a full listing of events, and get involved, visit: http://www.team-sarcoma.net. To read more about the Moments in Sarcoma award recipients, visit http://awards.team-sarcoma.net.

About the Team Sarcoma Initiative: The global Team Sarcoma Initiative is coordinated by the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people dealing with sarcoma. The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative publishes peer-reviewed articles in the Electronic Sarcoma Update Newsletter; provides comprehensive, sarcoma-specific clinical trial information at http://www.SarcomaHelp.org; and has raised over $1.25 Million dollars to fund in peer-reviewed research grants.

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