In the fall of 2015, Mike Fallon was right in the early stages of treatment for cancer.
The UW Health hematology and bone marrow transplant pharmacist was now a patient himself. After a diagnosis of testicular cancer that summer, he had had surgery and the first round of demanding chemotherapy regimen.
He was feeling well enough to attend the UW Carbone Cancer Center’s Race for Research and remains grateful that his UW Health co-workers formed a race team in support of him and his wife, Sarah Fallon, now the residency coordinator in the Department of Emergency Medicine.
“It was such a bright spot in those difficult days,’’ Mike says.
Since then, The Tumornators team has grown to over 30 members, most of them UW Health or UW SMPH employees, and last year it was the top fundraising team in the race. Each person on the team can designate funds to Carbone research on a particular type of cancer of their choice.
The Tumornators do have a secret weapon: Sarah Fallon is widely known as an excellent baker and makes the dessert of the top fundraiser’s dreams. Since the race is held in October, the top fundraiser often requests an apple pie or a special pumpkin cake.
Mike Fallon says that he likes the way the race brings out all types of people involved in cancer care, from clinicians to patients to researchers.
“Even though this is a big place, you know your colleagues here, you know your patients here, and the race celebrates that,’’ he says. “It’s a celebration of the Carbone Cancer Center community.”
Mike says he likes the fact that the funds stay local, and benefit research right here on campus.
“My chemotherapy treatment was proven at a Big Ten University cancer center,’’ he says. “So, this is a very tangible way to support research that will help future patients.”
The Fallons are also loyal racers because they want to be there for the people who are now where they were in 2015 – staring down a cancer diagnosis and an unknown future.
“We remember that feeling so vividly,’’ Sarah Fallon says. “We know where people are at, because we were there ourselves.”
There’s still time to form a team in Carbone’s Race for Research, which is being held this year on Oct. 27.