WEEI>On Demand>>Dr. Loren Walensky, pediatric oncologist and researcher, Dana Farber

Dr. Loren Walensky, pediatric oncologist and researcher, Dana Farber

Aug 19, 2014|

Dr. Loren Walensky joins Mikey Adams and Joe Castiglione. Walensky tells us about how the treatment and care of pediatric cancer patients have changed during his career, how fundraising dollars had a direct impact on his research and his patients, and how he started his Expose-Inspire-Launch internship program in 2006.

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Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Every single year. We talked to a guy who's really an integral part of all the goes on Dana Farber cancers -- pediatric oncologist and researcher a doctor horrible -- doctor. Thanks back it's good to see again. You have. You've had a long career during which are doing in a successful thankfully thank god for that. Career what's in all the things you do over you know remarkable. And all your staff and all the researchers have been it's truly a team effort. But from your own personal perspective. You've been able to watch people not only. Come -- and enter and exit the program. But you're kind of watching them grow up after they've been given a new lease on life that's got to be an unbelievable feeling. Well as I get older. In this process you know I'm starting to see. The fruition of all the hard work. In terms of watching the kids grow up and live. Adult lives I have to tell -- today. I was standing in line you know with my family get dinner and I ran into a patient of mine that I took care of it Jimmy Fund clinic when she was fifteen years old yeah she's now 29 years old I'll she came here tonight to celebrate her engagement which happened today. -- Tom and you know you he sees what. All of the hard work I'm results in an -- you know all all we're trying to do was to let people live have their life. You know -- execute on all their dreams and plans. And and that's what it's all about it's it's -- varies fundamentally simple thing in many ways we want people to just be able to have a normal. Life. You know that's got to be a feeling of unmitigated joy if you see someone who we are fifteen you've read essence she's doubled her life. Since that time that she began treatment and had to move on -- different plateaus the marriage and who knows the kids come next and a whole bubble -- of that family exactly that's got to be just a tremendous source of pride -- for -- -- in crowd. I mean this summer I also had just something that. Is unforgettable life. Earlier today we have the Franklin's on the radio and their daughter -- -- -- here with us and you know she. She was diagnosed when she was five years old I was in new. Oncologists that I'd only been in you know in the training program at the Dana Farber cancer institute for a month. And here she is today seventeen years old about to become a senior high school interest in medicine and biology. And she ended up working in my laboratory this summer there on the research side while. You know trying to see what it's like to do research as a potential career and you know there I am calling her by the name based caller we -- five and a half ass she goes by Kate and I'm used to color Katherine. And you know just seeing that transformation is something that comes with being in this now offer for ten years and it's just the remarkable experience to see the kids grow up. Doctor lets users studio -- and we are joined now by the hall of -- job as. Oh I got a naked -- -- I haven't set I have. Do you interface. You congratulations to you you're great man everybody loves Jokester -- And a Red Sox Nation now we'll know -- -- just what piece of this action you've had a different. I'll Mikey a great thing that I -- yet. You -- -- me before this radio -- away tomorrow night again and now let me rights -- material I don't you don't write your own but when I -- -- dude Joseph I got -- -- and I wanted to be secede. You know like you are I don't great just no other than the loss tonight but it was and that means you we kept the audience that phones kept ringing in that's. Really yeah outs and I say this now for the first part of this program you know people your team lose a game. You have a bad day on the golf course yet have a bad -- traffic guess what you don't have cancer and we're here to try to make sure that other people can say that as well. For the the -- 113. Annual and Joseph you've been part of course the Jimmy fund for years and years and years you remember the good doctor. The answer yes sir and great to see a doctor is Leo wonderful story about Kate. And there are so many wonderful stories today. -- you don't we hear of every single year to date they don't get stale they get fresher and -- every single year because the success stories get more and more. It -- you don't more more quantitative. If you talk to people and you know as you you. Mentioned this. -- young lady today was fifteen. Now she's 29 she's getting married and and you know you've been around doctor long enough for some has been around want to watch these people grow. Is really the culmination of all that you do here saving lives lengthening lives and giving people hope that's really what it's all. You know part of the researches to try to make the treatments better than they were because. You know it's something to cure. A cancer but it's also the comment on the other side and have a normal life not to have disabilities not to have long term side effects of the treatments. That's a very big arm of the research that's going on how -- we deliver the care in a way. That you could achieve your goal without having you know all the negative side effects. You know that are very common and that's part of this idea of trying to figure out exactly what is going on inside that cancer cell why is it wired to do what it's doing. And these very strategic and striking it's -- -- you know you don't have all these side effects. You know the doctor and all the people work so hard for the Dana Farber cancer as they burn the Midnight Oil. It's -- ET 365247. Battle. Against cancer we get out here for basically 48 hours and we asked people. To to do something to step up. Take a swing at this thing is best they can. And I don't -- people out there that say I can't afford ten bucks. But that's not most of you most of you out there to do the ten dollar text donations -- cancer is the word you texted to zero. -- to most of you can do that. Now basket yet. Just do it don't don't think about it don't put it off get on -- but you're right your device get your your telephone -- what's -- cellphone. It I think that's when it. I -- -- to use a rotary dial calls 8777. To create what just before we don't care sent smoke signals just do what you can't while we're on here push and and and try to make sure that this thing is important part of the year for Dana Farber cancer it's. It is that you say 365. Days a year 24/7 you know why I say this all the time you could drive up this road. Down the street here and look at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute buildings and the research buildings and there's lights on and that's not because we forgot to turn them off their attack apple and their working right now in laboratories. Of all ages. On those that are training to become you know tomorrow's cancer researchers -- that are very focused on their experiments doing them through the night to get the job done. You know there's a real marriage there between that urgent need for change and improvement and that people in the laboratories trying to make that happen. And it's really that blending of the clinical care and research and then the compassionate way that the care is delivered. And then it is fierce dedication on all sides that make it remarkable place. It's such an you know it's assembly -- that everybody's been affected you you know at least it directly -- -- -- -- by cancer I I just in the last few months my brother in law. Was down -- Connecticut multiple myeloma was his situation he stated Dana Farber cancer they give it. Unbelievably. Perfect diagnosis. And while he went elsewhere for treatment he says without Dana Farber Cancer Institute putting him aiming over the exact right direction. Big game one to two years now he's talking fifteen to twenty minimum Andy's behalf he's kind of world my sisters to every single day somebody is. Is helped by this Dana Farber group in a way that it is just you can't you can't measure because it's love it's -- it's no -- one relationship. Well you know the thing is is that you know it's a bomb that drops on someone's house. You know whether it's a parent or sibling a child it's a bomb that drops on the house no one knows it's coming. On the and and and there's you know destroy apples everywhere and you have to figure out what's going on what you're gonna do to put the pieces back together. And that takes and the team. And you know the teams that are at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute from the nurses. On to the clinical assistant. To the physicians to the physicians in training Anderson in enormous infrastructure to make this happen and have everything behind the scenes working. So that the care is delivered properly and smoothly and effectively and that's that's the well oiled machine these patients and intimacy. Joseph it's probably impossible all the years you've been with a team to actually put a number on. How much the Red Sox and and -- in WEEI yourself personally. Have have raised that number is not. It -- anybody as far as what you know individual accomplishments go but what is important is. What's the progress has been made by raising all this money over the years not just for the Dana Farber cancer is to -- the fight against cancer itself. The QB you've seen you've been watching for hurting you for. -- this scene to see the cure rates improved so much. But also to just. The awareness people half of the Jimmy Fund and that includes -- ball players. -- from other teams that come here and see the Jimmy Fund mogul on the wall. Used to see it up on the right field that roof and now it's even more prominent. And they all understand what it's about -- Mike social was on the list today I asked him. Last week it and I become on the radio -- says I know about the Jimmy Fund I give every year. And I mean he's never have lost that connection he played his entire career in the National League game. And then of course manage the angels -- 3000 miles away yeah but I think it's its profile how. Far reaching the Jimmy Fund is and then the association that Wear the Red Sox and there's just no other associations like it in all sport. You know we talk about how masterful these players are in it Ted Williams. When the original work. You don't need to have lent himself to this this very unbelievably worthy -- we talk about Roger Clemens talked with a masterful. Art of pitching. My coach here somebody. That the people that Dana Farber cancer is through on every level and every minute and every single department are masterful in the same way but for even obviously much more important. Cause so we should appreciate. Their mastery. Of of the art of of battling this awful disease. And doctor oval it's you're regular you're one of the guys that we've what we've got to tip our hats to -- thank you for all you don't use is -- -- -- well. Thank you so much it's great to have you here and Joseph Lockhart we're gonna have more jokes to -- a part of the joke -- -- battle ax.

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