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Massey Nation steps up to the Massey Challenge in new and familiar ways this year

Jun 08, 2021

collage of participants

It’s not the 10K without the #MasseyChallenge

In a year that has been largely defined by COVID-19, one thing has remained constant: Massey Nation’s commitment to fighting cancer, no matter what. Cancer doesn’t stop for a pandemic, and for our Massey Challenge team captains, neither do they.

COVID-19 predicated changes to the traditional Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K, of which VCU Massey Cancer Center is the official charity partner. Sports Backers extended the race to two new sites, Byrd and Dorey Parks, and to four days to better accommodate social distancing and enable participants to run or walk at their convenience.

The 10K’s motto is, “It’s not RVA without the 10K,” and it’s also not the 10K without the Massey Challenge. Despite the changes, more than 100 individual team members and team captains still stepped up to run, walk and fundraise. Some teams ran or walked at Dorey and Byrd Parks as part of the 10K. Some rallied friends and neighbors to get active in their own communities. Others fundraised and participated virtually.

All stepped up to fundraise and support Massey and the Massey Challenge.

Donations to the 2021 Massey Challenge provide unrestricted funds to support the center’s most pressing needs, as designated by the cancer center director. These include efforts to advance research, to recruit and retain top cancer researchers and physicians and to increase education and access to cancer prevention programs and pilot projects to help catch cancer earlier and improve outcomes for all patients, regardless of their geographic or economic status.

Doctor-led teams led the way

New this year, a number of Massey doctors, Emma Fields (Cert.’16/E), M.D., Khalid Matin, M.D., Kandace McGuire, M.D., and Jose Trevino, M.D., stepped up to captain new Massey Challenge teams, rallying colleagues, friends, neighbors and even Massey patients to donate and participate with them. Our doctors’ teams alone raised $57,000, including about half in the final week, and are still fundraising.

Meet some of our 2021 Massey Challenge team captains here:

Dr. Winn walking on the street

Staying active is a great way to stay healthy and to help prevent cancer, says Robert Winn, M.D., director and Lipman Chair in Oncology at Massey. This April, Winn issued a challenge to all of Massey Nation: to commit to getting outdoors and staying active as a way to stay healthy and to help fight cancer. And, he invited others in Massey Nation to stand with him and to join his Massey Challenge team, Team Massey Nation.

Over the course of several months, Winn posted on social media and got moving within his own neighborhood and throughout the City of Richmond, to raise awareness and donations to his team, Team Massey Nation. As of the publication of this article, Winn’s team raised more than $5,000 as part of the Massey Challenge.

“Walking is one of those workouts that can help prevent cancer,” said Winn in April. “So, you know I’m getting my sweat on at this year’s #MasseyChallenge.

“Pardon my puns,” Winn wrote on his Twitter account @DrRobWinn on June 1, “but we are nearing the #MasseyChallenge finish line and need your help to get one step closer to a future without cancer.”

Donate to Team Massey

The Beam team members

Emma Fields, M.D., will admit to being competitive. As a radiation oncologist at VCU Massey Cancer Center, she is laser focused on one thing: helping her patients beat cancer.

An avid runner, Fields is a proponent of exercise as a way to stay healthy and strong, especially when battling cancer. Fields led The Beam Team to become the largest Massey Challenge team this year with more than 25 members, and it is also the top fundraising team with nearly $17,000 raised and counting, as of this publication.

“The radiation beam is our powerful weapon against cancer,” Fields explains. She says the team name was a collaborative effort. Along the way, Fields enticed team members to join and donate to The Beam Team by offering them team hats and swag, and even cookies inspired by this year’s 10K medals. “The Beam Team is the most fun team,” Fields adds.

On fundraising, Fields is not stopping. “The limit is as high as we can get,” she says. “The money is going here to our cancer center to help our patients do better and improve outcomes.”

Donate to The Beam Team


Bust a Move team members

Kandace Peterson McGuire, M.D., chief of breast surgery at Massey, is using the Massey Challenge as a way to “bust a move” against cancer.

A surgeon, researcher and caregiver at Massey, McGuire is also a formidable fundraiser, an old-school classic hip-hop fan, an avid runner and a creative advocate for her patients.

McGuire is leading a Massey Challenge team, Team Bust A Move, so named in reference to “the fact that that is literally what we are doing: we are stepping up and busting a move on cancer,” she explained. Her team raised more than $15,000, nearly tripling her original goal of $5,000.

“Although you may have cancer, cancer does not have you. It is time to step up to ensure that every patient and every family live their best lives with cancer, and well beyond cancer,” she said.

Donate to Team Bust a Move


Chadwick's Panthers team members

Medical oncologist Khalid Matin, M.D., associate medical director of Massey's Cancer Service Line and interim chair of the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care, is committed to raising awareness about the importance of early screening for colorectal cancer, and all cancers – and he is using the Massey Challenge to help do it.

Matin’s 2021 Massey Challenge team name, Chadwick’s Panthers, is inspired by Chadwick Boseman, the late actor who lost his battle with colorectal cancer in 2019 while in his early 40s and who did much to raise awareness about the importance of early screenings.

“The inspirations for me are the patients I take care of in my clinic,” says Matin, noting the critical importance of raising awareness about early screenings to find colorectal and other cancers. “We are sadly seeing a trend towards younger patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer… and that’s very concerning and it’s worrying.”

“Chadwick Boseman was… a great role model for colorectal cancer patients and cancer patients in general,” says Matin. “The way he went through this, continuing to be an advocate for other people, continuing to be brave and fighting cancer, I think really is a role model for a lot of us. “And, because...he was a young individual who died of cancer in his early 40s, I think spreading the word so we can really screen and prevent a lot of those cancers.”

“What gets me motivated [about the Massey Challenge] is the fact that it’s such a great community awareness event,” says Matin. “People are out, we’re talking about cancer, about cancer screening, about how we can fight cancer as a community together… It gets people motivated thinking about what they can do in their lives and to help others to improve treatments and cures for cancer.”

Donate to Team Chadwick's Panthers


Massey Nation stepping up to the Challenge

Collage of teams

Joining our doctors, seasoned and new teams stepped up together this year, inspired by a shared commitment: a future without cancer.

St. ChristoCURES, Team Daniel, Pat’s Fleet Team, Team SCOPE, Miss Connie’s Crew, Kim’s Adventure Warriors, Team Daisy, Patrick Henry 10K Training Team, Team Whitney, Pauley Heart, Peds Power Racers and more raised awareness and critical funds to advance Massey’s mission.

Teams like Team Daniel, Kim’s Adventure Warriors and Patrick Henry 10K Training Team participated to honor or remember a loved one, to celebrate survivors and to help improve cancer outcomes. Some, like St. ChristoCURES and Pat’s Fleet, hosted their own 5K or 10Ks or smaller events to fundraise within their own neighborhoods. Others like Team Daisy, Miss Connie’s Crew and Delicia Battle braved the heat to run or walk the 10K. Still others, like Team SCOPE and Eleanor Templeton [link to article: /news/Stepping-up-to-the-Massey-Challenge-in-honor-of-her-mom] fundraised virtually, raising significant dollars in honor of loved ones. VCU’s Pauley Heart Center set up a team to help make a difference together, and first-time Challenger Delicia Battle participated in memory of her sister.

$100,000 and counting raised for lifesaving cancer research

Collage of partner logos

Despite the heat, despite the changes predicated by COVID-19 and despite the challenges of cancer, Massey Nation stepped up this year to support lifesaving cancer research, raising $100,000 and counting through this year’s Challenge.

Thank you to our corporate champions, First Citizens Bank, NCi (Northeast Construction Inc) and Owens & Minor for sponsoring the Massey Challenge and much of our work day in and day out at Massey. To say we are grateful for your commitment is an understatement.

Grateful patients Susan and Gail

Joining us in our gratitude are two Massey patients, Susan and Gail, who shared messages of thanks and a final call for support to the Massey Challenge.

Both are cancer survivors who credit Massey and their doctor, Emma Fields, with saving their lives. They stepped up to the Massey Challenge as members of Fields’ The Beam Team, and continue to be inspired by the strength of our community and of the Massey Nation.

There is still time to support the Massey Challenge and your favorite team at:

Will you step up to the Challenge and help us imagine a future without cancer?

Written by: Katherine Layton

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