October 7, 2005
Contact: Jennifer Ekman, USA Office of Public Relations, (251) 460-6360

CRI Research Nurse Cycles for Cancer Awareness

USA Cancer Research Institute Research
Nurse Jennifer Hartley participated in the
Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope to raise
awareness of cancer research.

University of South Alabama Cancer Research Institute Research Nurse Jennifer Hartley combined care for her patients and her zest for cycling when she participated in the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope, a cross-country bicycle ride designed to raise awareness of cancer research.

As a clinical and research nurse at the USA-CRI, Hartley talks with patients about treatment options, including participation in clinical trials as a way to access innovative medical treatments.

As part of the 24-person Tour of Hope team, she began the cycling journey on Sept. 29 in San Diego, trekking 3,300 miles to Washington, D.C., for a grand finale nine days later. Legendary cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong joined the team at points across the country, using his star power and popularity to raise awareness about cancer research.

A longtime triathlete, Hartley said her training regimen for the Tour of Hope is at a different level of intensity because of the physical demands of the tour, and the commitment she feels toward the rest of her team.

She spent numerous hours per week on the bike, including four0hour rides on the weekends, and she is in constant communication with her coaches. As a member of the Tour of Hope team, she has received a new, custom-made Trek bicycle for the ride.

Hartley has seen seven family members, including her parents and mother-in-law, die from cancer, an experience that she hopes the family members of her patients never face.

“I would like for other families to not have to experience some of the things I went through,” she said.

At the USA-CRI, she is often disappointed when she sees her patients refusing to participate in clinical trials because of fear or misconceptions about clinical studies.

Her message is clear: “Don’t be afraid of clinical trials. Don’t be afraid of cancer.”

Motivated by her hope of finding new cancer treatments, Hartley works one-on-one with each patient. She said the USA-CRI offers local and regional patients access to a level of research care that was previously unavailable in Mobile.

“We are where we are today because of the research we did yesterday, and where we have the opportunity to go is incredible,” said Hartley, 46. “There are people here to help you, we want to help, and we will take every opportunity to do the best for you that we can.”

Through the Tour of Hope, Hartley brought her message of cancer treatment and the importance of clinical trials to a nationwide audience.

“The fight is personal as well as professional for me,” said Hartley, who has been an oncology nurse for 15 years. “This is one of the most exciting times in cancer research that there’s ever been. We’re on the verge of chancing cancer treatment forever. There is hope, and we can’t stop now.”

For more details on the Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope, visit www.tourofhope.org.

For more details on the USA Cancer Research Institute and clinical trials, visit www.southalabama.edu/cri or call (251) 460-6993.

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