Berlin Resident Shares Inspiring Story With More Than 900 at Cancer Survivors Day Program
Southington [June 09 2009] -
Keith Bellizzi, Ph.D., MPH, a 15-year cancer survivor and member of Lance Armstrong’s 2005 Tour of Hope cycling team, shared his inspiring story with more than 900 cancer survivors and their guests at The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s National Cancer Survivors Day event June 7.
The 17th annual Survivors Day celebration, held at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington, was sponsored by The Hospital of Central Connecticut’s George Bray Cancer Center.
Bellizzi, a Berlin resident, was 24 when he was diagnosed advanced testicular and kidney cancer. He decided if he survived, he’d return to school and devote his life to helping others with cancer.
Bellizzi eventually earned master’s degrees in public health and psychology and a Ph.D. in human development and family studies. After working at the National Cancer Institute, he joined UConn, where he is assistant professor of Human Development & Family Studies. He has continued his work in cancer research.
“Cancer for me was an opportunity to find meaning in my life,” Bellizzi told the group at the event.
In 2005, Bellizzi was among 24 riders chosen from a pool of 1,100 to join cancer survivor and seven-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong on the 2005 Bristol-Myers Squibb Tour of Hope. The ride, from San Diego, Calif. to Washington, D.C., helped raise money for cancer research and awareness of the importance of clinical trials to help find new cancer treatments. Bellizzi called the ride a “grueling” but inspiring experience.
Bellizzi and other Cancer Survivors Day speakers, Steven Hanks, M.D., the hospital’s senior vice president of medical affairs; Peter Byeff, M.D., medical director, George Bray Cancer Center; and John Delmonte Jr., M.D., the Cancer Center’s director of cancer research, encouraged those in attendance to participate in clinical trials.
Speeches were followed by a special recognition ceremony for cancer survivors and caregivers.
Contact: Nancy Martin, 860.224.5900, X4366
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