2014 mAss Kickers year in review

Saturday, January 10, 2015
By, Eric

2014 was another exciting year for mAss. Kickers Foundation.    We moved to a very unique co-working space in San Diego, 3rd Space.  Lots of creative people and entrepreneurs with start up companies are members of 3rd Space.   Everyone there is in a similar startup situation, so it is easy to connect with people there.  It is located in the trendy University Heights neighborhood of San Diego with lots of unique restaurants and businesses in the area!  It is truly a unique co-working area!  Metaphorically, mAss Kickers Foundation is also comprised of unique individuals who have banded together to fight all forms of tumors/cancer.  In 2014, we made a concerted effort to highlight extraordinary individuals on our website who are doing extraordinary things in the struggle against these horrible diseases.  To date, we have highlighted 94 Featured mAss Kickers.  We are looking to add more 501c3 organizations to our website.   So much momentum is building, that soon we will have to prepare for another shift in the evolution of mAss Kickers Foundation.

Here is a recap of this past year… 2014 started off in January at Loma Linda Physical Therapy program.  mAss Kickers Foundation Executive Director, Dr. Eric Galvez, lectured to physical therapy students about his unique perspective as a young healthcare professional turned physically disabled brain tumor survivor.  He later participated in a lab with the students so they could get hands on practice with a neurology rehab patient!

Dr. Galvez traveled to Las Vegas in February for the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting to attend Oncology Section programming.  Many connections were made at the conference that opened the door to future MKF activities.  Later in the month, Dr. Galvez spoke at the San Diego State University Physical Therapy program and volunteered to be a neuro rehab patient at their neuro lab because simulating neuro deficits for students is difficult to replicate to learn and practice their assessment skills.

In March, Dr . Galvez was featured in a San Diego Union Tribune article that promoted  “Kicking mAss” and “thrivership”, a proactive life after a tumor/cancer diagnosis.  He also represented mAss Kickers Foundation in the Indiana University- Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI), Lilly School of Philanthropy Fundraising Certificate Program.  The connections made in the program opened the door to many future collaborations.

In April, Dr. Galvez was invited to share his story as an ethnic minority healthcare professional turned physically disabled brain tumor survivor at the Indiana University- Purdue University at Indianapolis School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. SHRS Diversity workshop.  Dr. Galvez was later invited to share his story with the University of New England Physical Therapy program via Google Hangout.  At the end of April, mAss Kickers Foundation was at the OMG Young Adult cancer conference in Las Vegas.  The Jabbawokees were able to set us up with complimentary tickets for mAss Kickers to their show at the Luxor.  They even participated in our TUMORS SUCK Campaign!  We look forward to returning to Vegas to watch another show!

May is Brain Tumor Awareness month in the United States!  We had the honor of traveling to Washington DC and speaking to our congressmen through the National Brain Tumor Society’s “Head to the Hill” Program.  We were honored to represent California with:  Liz Salmi, Sarah Fumes, Monika Allen, David Allen, Cassie Nguyen, Raechal Shewfelt, Ashley Meyers-Turner, and other California brain tumor advocates. Later in the month, Dr. Galvez had another opportunity to speak at Concorde College to Physical Therapy Assistant students before they went out on their clinical affiliations.

In June, we held our 2nd mAss Kickers Charity Kickball Tournament through the San Diego State Physical Therapy program and the leadership of SPTs:  Gail Bachman and Andy Bhatia.  San Diego-based: physical therapy programs (SDSU, St. Augustine, Mesa College, and Concorde College), survivors, healthcare professionals, and a San Diego Kickball team were represented at the tournament.  This unique event was another fun way for people to support mAss Kickers Foundation activities in a fun and unique way.  Later in the month MKF connected with two European Cancer Advocates from Esperity, a website that connects cancer survivors all over the world without language barriers!  We were very excited to meet them and look forward to collaborating with them in the future!

In August, we hosted the 6th Annual TUMORS SUCK PAINTBALL BENEFIT. In Pinckney, MI USA. This year’s event featured more oncology patients and more students.  It has become a family friendly event under the direction of Angel Bureau and Andrew Wlodyga.  More young survivors attended this year and we are looking forward to hosting more pediatric patients in the coming years!

We had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Brain Power 5K Run/walk in Austin TX USA later in August and connected with many “thriver” friends there: Iram J. Leon, Gail Wismar, Matt Cotcher, Kelly Bollinger, Runi Limary, and Chris Brewer.  Later in the trip, Dr. Galvez spoke at the University of Texas at San Marcos Physical Therapy program about his experiences as a young healthcare professional turned neuro rehab patient.

At the beginning of October, mAss Kickers Foundation hosted the Celebration of Life event where tumor/cancer thrivers formally thanked the people who stuck around for survivors in their time of need.  Kristen Albair was the Master of Ceremonies for the second year in a row. Three San Diego based thrivers:  Melanie Kabo, Tanya Lemons, and Robyn Hamil dedicated toasts to our families, our friends, and the fellow survivors who were instrumental in helping rediscover life.  This was literally a celebration of life together!  Dr. Galvez finally completed his Certification in Fundraising Management from the Lilly School of Philanthropy at Indiana University – Purdue University at Indianapolis in October and is eager to apply his new skills to strengthen the foundation of mAss Kickers Foundation.

In November, Dr. Galvez spoke at US Army’s 39th Parallel Healthcare Conference: a plenary session about his personal experiences with a brain tumor + a CEU Session about the Benefits of Exercise/Physical Activity in Post treatment Thrivership.  Special thanks to: Jorge Ramirez, Dr. Michelle Ramirez, CPT Leah Trefz, COL Vincent Mysliwiec,  MAJ David Feltwell, and many others at the Yongsan Garrison in Korea for arranging our speaking engagements.

Later in November, mAss Kickers Foundation also had the opportunity to present to students in the research program at National University, Singapore.  Ashley Piaskowski, Marjeri Smith, and Dr. Galvez explored the city during their trip to Singapore and compiled their experiences in a video.  Many great contacts were made in Singapore.  Special thanks to MKF Board member, Dr. Ed Chow for setting up the lecture at NUS .

Just recently in early December, mAss Kickers Foundation was featured in an article in US News.  Lots of great things are in the works!  We are a dynamic organization with the potential for incredible growth!  If you would like to get involved as a volunteer, a donor, or as a community leader, please email info@masskickers.org. Please consider a tax deductible donation to support mAss Kickers Foundation activities in 2015.  2015 will be a banner year for mAss Kickers Foundation!  We are looking to do more international outreach and have many exciting things in the works in 2015!  STAY TUNED!

SEE HOW WE’VE GROWN!

2013 RECAP

2012 RECAP

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