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– The Jackson Preparatory School senior class of 2014 on Thursday donated $14,360.11 to further research at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute.
Class members raised the money in December with Pounding the Pavement for a Cure, a 5K Race. The run, in its second year, originated in 2012 after two class members lost loved ones to cancer.
Anna Grace Buchanan and Cara Lee Crawford started the race after Buchanan lost her father to pancreatic and liver cancer and Crawford‘s grandfather was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer. Crawford’s grandfather died in January 2013.
Jackson Prep seniors Anna Grace Buchanan, left, and Cara Lee Crawford speak to UMMC Cancer Institute researchers.
The Jackson Prep class of 2014 adopted Pounding the Pavement for a Cure as its senior project and held the race in December 2013 at Liberty Park in Flowood.
“We are very grateful for the actions this class took in hopes of finding a cure for cancer,” said Dr. Srinivasan Vijayakumar, CI director. “We’ll use this money to enhance the equipment many researchers here use as they search for a cure.”
“We have great pride in these two seniors,” said Dr. Luke Nealey, Prep’s head of high school. “It’s all because of their hard work and dedication.”
Dr. Richard Summers, UMMC associate vice chancellor for research, praised their effort.
“Mississippi leads the nation in terms of those who arrive with end-stage or late-stage cancer,” he said.
Community efforts such as this help researchers and community members find ways to end that cycle, he said.
Crawford also emphasized their community commitment. “We really wanted to give back to our community and it’s very important to us that no family has to go through what our families have gone through.”
Buchanan said, “We wanted to give to UMMC because it is local and in our own community.”
Cancer Institute researchers applauded as the check was presented.
Dr. Srinivasan Vijayakumar, Cancer Institute director, displays the Cryostat machine the donated funds will purchase.
The money, combined with the 2012 donation, will be used to purchase a Cryostat, a machine the researchers use to cut frozen tumor tissue and make histological slides. This one can cut extremely fine slices, down to 4 micrometers.
“This produces very thin slices and you can see details of a cancer specimen under the microscope,” said Dr. Kounosuke Watabe, CI deputy director for basic research and professor in the Department of Microbiology. “The equipment can be used in all areas of cancer research. It is a very powerful all-purpose machine.”
Vijayakumar thanked the duo and the senior class.
“They showed compassion and they showed leadership. We work to destroy cancer every day and we are extremely thankful to you for your compassion and leadership.”
James Simeon Adams Neill, M.D. Dr. James Simeon Adams Neill, a UMMC alum and practicing pathologist with Quest Diagnostics, has rejoined the Medical Center faculty as an associate professor of pathology. After attending the University of Mississippi from 1971-74, Neill earned the M.D. at UMMC in 1978. He comple
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Melissa M. Rhodes, M.D. Dr. Melissa M. Rhodes, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Ohio State University College of Medicine and director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell and Thalassemia Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, has joined the Medical Center faculty as an associate professor