Swimming and Diving Set to "Leave it in the Pool"

SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (Nov. 4, 2008) - The Mount Holyoke College swimming and diving team will be participating in the third annual Ted Mullin "Leave it in the Pool" Hour of Power on Thursday, November 6. Through their involvement in the national campaign, the Lyons hope to raise cancer awareness.

Swimmers from across the nation are taking part in the "Hour of Power" relay in honor of former Carleton College swimmer Ted Mullin, who died in the fall of 2006 from sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer. Funds raised through the event support research at the University of Chicago into the causes and treatment of sarcoma in young people.

On Thursday, teams from around the country will hold practices consisting of continuous relays - any stroke, all-out swimming - for one hour. The objective will be to keep all relays in each pool on the same length. Simultaneously swimming the "Hour of Power" across time zones adds to the spirit and fun of the relay.

First held in 2006, the "Hour of Power" Relay included 15 teams, which together raised $11,000 for the Ted Mullin Fund for Sarcoma Research. Last year, the number of participating teams climbed to 53, including 46 colleges and universities. $43,000 was raised for the fund. This year, around 75 teams are registered to participate.

This support has enabled the University of Chicago to recruit Stephen X. Skapek, M.D. as Director of Pediatric Oncology and a leader in translational sarcoma research. His expertise, leadership and work with collaborators aim to translate new scientific discovery into improved therapies for cancer patients like Ted Mullin.

Sarcoma is a cancer that comes in the form of malignant tumors of the musculoskeletal system - soft tissues, bones and joints. It is regarded as a developmental (early childhood) tumor. An overwhelming 55% of the 12,000 sarcoma cases each year in the United States hits 15-29 year olds. Sarcoma is the fifth most common cancer in that age group. Unlike most cancers, the sarcoma treatment success rate is not improving, especially in the adolescent and young adult population.

Through the 2008 "Hour of Power," the University of Chicago will be able to advance a research-driven approach to the diagnosis, treatment and care of all individuals with sarcoma, with potential research projects including, but not limited to: Identification of molecular causes of sarcoma to provide new targets for therapy development; Identification of the sarcoma cell of origin; Establishment of animal models of the diseases that can be used to evaluate new treatment strategies; Introduction into the clinic of new drugs for treatment of sarcoma; and Development of new bone/soft tissue regeneration strategies.

For more information, please visit the "Hour of Power" website.