Going Platinum: Interim Healthcare, Deb’s Brainiacs and More

Three people pose for headshots

From left: Event co-chair Wally Pagan, Debbie Penderghast of “Deb’s Brainiacs,” and emcee Darrell “Doc” Rodgers.

With the second annual Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure only two days away, the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute and UC Brain Tumor Center offer a few SHOUT-OUTS to Interim Healthcare and Deb’s Brainiacs! These incredible supporters have helped lift Walk Ahead for a Brain Tumor Cure past two important benchmarks: 1,300 participants and $140,000 raised.

Interim Healthcare, Walk Ahead’s Platinum Sponsor, employs more than 75,000 healthcare workers at 300 franchise locations and provides nurses, therapists, aides and other health care personnel to approximately 50,000 people each day. In the Greater Cincinnati region, where Interim Healthcare is celebrating its 40th year, 800 employees serve approximately 3,000 people every day.

“Walk Ahead is a wonderful cause, and we are thrilled to be one of your main sponsors,” says Cheryl Hastings, Interim Healthcare’s Regional Vice President. “We have provided services to many clients with brain injury and other neurological diseases and disorders, and we have worked with University Hospital for well over 20 years.”

Interim Healthcare’s mission is to help clients with routine or complex medical care while allowing them to stay out of institutions and in the comfort of their homes. That home-based medical care can range from physical and occupational therapy to chemotherapy and even ventilator care.

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Also going platinum are “Deb’s Brainiacs,” a team whose love and support for Debbie Penderghast is more than 100 strong. Funds raised by Deb’s Brainiacs have topped $11,000 and continue to climb. “When you meet Debbie, her smile will tell you she is one of the most beautiful people you will ever meet, inside and out,” says Team Leader Marsha Wirtz. “To know Debbie is to love her!”

Ms. Penderghast, Executive Assistant to the President and Chief Operating Officer at LaRosa’s, is battling an inoperable glioma and will soon complete a radiation and chemotherapy treatment program. She accepted her diagnosis with bravery and grace, Ms. Wirtz says, and her strength has enabled family and friends to stay strong with her.

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Practically going platinum are the three awesome volunteer bands that will perform at no charge during the walk:

  • Noteworthy, playing under the Peace Bell
  • Northside Garage Band, playing on the Purple People Bridge
  • Some Assembly Required, playing at Sawyer Point.

“Some Assembly Required” includes our own Stephen Strakowski, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Research at UC, Director of the Mood Disorders Program and the Dr. Stanley and Mickey Kaplan Professor and Chair of UC’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience.

What do psychiatry and brain tumors have in common? Not surprisingly, sadness is a frequent response to the discovery of a brain tumor, either in oneself or in a loved one. Persistent sadness can evolve into depression, and researchers have found that depression is the most common post-operative complication in patients who have undergone surgery for a brain tumor.

“Any major insult to the brain, like a brain tumor and its treatment, carries with it a very high risk of developing depression,” Dr Strakowski says. “Consequently, UCNI, which offers the opportunity to integrate across departments and service lines, allows us to better manage people who are struggling with brain disease. We are pleased to be part of this important event on Sunday.”

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Of course, UCNI and the UC Brain Tumor Center are deeply appreciative of all of our sponsors and supporters. We thank our emcee, 700WLW personality Darrell “Doc” Rodgers; we thank our gold level sponsors, Fund Evaluation Group and Miller Valentine Group; we thank our faithful co-chairs, Wally Pagan and Chris Knueven; we thank the Shemenski Foundation; and we thank everyone who is walking, running or volunteering on Sunday, and all who have made donations in their honor.

— Cindy Starr 

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