By Scott Scanlon – Refresh Editor
Dr. Meir Wetzler, chief of the Leukemia Section at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, takes his role so seriously that he’s willing to sweat to help raise money to fight the disease.
In fact, he’ll even wear a pair of bright red boots – if the price is right.
I had the honor last month to be asked to judge the costume contest during the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 25th Anniversary Gelatin Splash at Bachetti by Rizzo’s, an event that raised a record $127,000.
All proceeds from the Gelatin Splash will be spent by the local chapter to fund programs of blood cancer research, local patient aid, public and professional education, advocacy and community service.
Wetzler and his team from Roswell – Kickin' Leukemia with Kinky Boots – won the costume contest by dressing provocatively, to say the least. It’s not often you see a medical team dressing this way, including one team member in drag, then sliding into a pool of cherry gelatin. But embarrassment comes easier when you do it for a cause.
Wetzler and his team, who always come to the Splash in costume, are perennial favorites, said Andrew Brocato, a Tops Friendly Markets executive and fellow judge who kindly shared the photo above.
The gift certificate the team won during the contest was given to a Roswell Park patient who is being treated for acute myeloid leukemia.
And the team wasn’t finished with its good deeds, said Annie Deck-Miller, a hospital spokeswoman.
“There probably aren’t too many people – maybe no one – who did the Gelatin Splash and the Ride,” Deck-Miller said, “but this group of employees really gets involved in programs and events to help cancer patients and those with blood diseases. And Dr. Wetzler raised funds through RPCI through his participation in the Buffalo Marathon two years ago.”
Deck-Miller said the hospital recently re-energized its Team Roswell program to coordinate and encourage participation by employees in activities benefitting Roswell Park or other health-related organizations, including the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge, Carly’s Crossing, Bosom Buddies Walk, Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure WNY and the Undy 5000 Buffalo 5K.
“It’s all about having fun, getting fit and showing our Roswell Park pride all at the same time,” she said.