Walking the Walk: UConn Staff Participate in Health Fundraiser

2015 Calhoun Ride & Walk Participants
Left to right: Health Sciences Director of Development Shauna Pangilinan, her friend, and Abbie O’Brien at the Calhoun Ride & Walk on May 30, 2015. (Credit: UConn Foundation)

“It’s important to practice what we preach,” said Abbie O’Brien, director of development, Health Sciences, at the UConn Foundation, who along with Amy Chesmer, the senior director of development for Health Sciences, led a team in the Jim Calhoun Ride & Walk for Lifesaving Research and Care this past weekend in West Hartford.

O’Brien, Chesmer, and other university and foundation staff—along with UConn alumni and members of the community—hope to raise $250,000 dollars this year for UConn Health. Since the event started in 2007, Coach Calhoun’s event has raised more than $2 million.

O’Brien says she was inspired to participate not only to be a part of the Foundation’s mission, but also because of some of the groundbreaking work that the Ride & Walk helps promote.

A cancer survivor herself, O’Brien is participating in a study conducted by Dr. Bruce Liang, interim dean of the UConn School of Medicine and director of UConn Health’s Pat & Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center, on the long-term effects of chemotherapy on the heart. Liang found that patients who had chemotherapy are more likely to develop heart disease. Cardiologists and oncologists, as a result, can more closely monitor these patients and offer them preventative care.

“It’s good timing, because as Dr. Liang found that chemotherapy can have these effects, we’re also seeing more targeted therapies for cancer being developed,” she said, pointing to Dr. Pramod Srivastava’s team at the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at UConn Health, who are developing personalized ovarian cancer vaccines.

Learn more about the Calhoun Ride & Walk for Lifesaving Research and Care. If you participated this year or previously, thanks for your support!

If not, it’s not too late to participate—teams are fundraising for UConn Health through August 1.