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Thousands will run to support future solutions for patients with cancer

SEATTLE, Wash. – (June 27, 2006) – On July 9, Virginia Mason Medical Center and SEAFAIR will team up to host the Virginia Mason Team Medicine Marathon at SEAFAIR. Thousands are expected to participate in the marathon, running the USA Track & Field certified course for an important goal — to help fight cancer.

Cancer accounts for one of every four deaths in the United States. It is the second most common cause of death in the U.S., surpassed only by heart disease. This year’s marathon will benefit cancer research at the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI).

“Our hope is that cancer will be eradicated in the future,” said Debra Wechter, MD, a Virginia Mason surgeon and head of the breast cancer team. “In the meantime, we advocate increasing awareness about the importance of early detection as well as lending support to research. Research is critical in finding new options for the detection, prevention and treatment of cancer.”

Many participants will don a colored ribbon during the race, in honor of a loved one that has had cancer. The colored ribbons will also serve as an inspiration to the runners to complete their goal of finishing the challenging race.

“Running a marathon parallels a patient’s fight against cancer,” continued Dr. Wechter. “Both challenges take perseverance, optimism and hard work.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of death from cancer, after lung cancer.

“As a breast cancer survivor, I benefit from the latest treatment options, thanks to research,” said Celeste McDonell. “Now I’m running my third marathon to lend support. I hope by sharing my story I can inspire others to participate.”

To learn more about Virginia Mason and BRI, visit

Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a not-for-profit comprehensive regional health care system that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 400 physicians with a 336-bed acute care Seattle hospital. In addition, Virginia Mason has a network of clinics located throughout the Puget Sound area and manages Bailey-Boushay House, a nursing residence and adult day health program for people living with HIV/AIDS. Virginia Mason also has an internationally recognized research center, the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason. For more information, visit

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