Vishal Gupta, MD, is driven to go above and beyond. Last year he rode 30 miles in The Ride For Roswell; this year he plans to double that mileage. In 2013 he gave himself a year to achieve the goal of running a half marathon, marathon, and 50-mile ultra marathon; he hit the mark two months early and now runs 200 miles per month.
It’s the same in his work. As a physician in the Head & Neck / Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Center at Roswell Park, he treats patients surgically and also coordinates their care through the Comprehensive Head & Neck Rehabilitation Service, which provides a range of critical support services, including nutrition counseling, pain management, speech and physical therapy, and clinical genetic counseling.
“Head and neck cancer is devastating,” he says. He sees that every day. That’s why he wants to do more for his patients. That’s why, throughout the long winter, he ran or headed to the gym to train, looking forward to the warmer weather when he could get out his bike again and push forward toward The Ride.
Dr. Gupta will not ride alone. He’s captain of his department team and expects the team to grow in the coming weeks. “We invite anyone who’s interested to join our team and show support for patients with head and neck cancer,” he says. “Come ride with us!”
The funds the team raises will enable the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation to provide grants supporting research and patient programs at Roswell Park. In recent years, some of those grants helped launch studies evaluating ways to boost the effectiveness of photodynamic therapy (PDT) against cancers of the head and neck—including recurrent cancers, which are difficult to control. We highlighted this research effort in a recent post from Dr. Gal Shafirstein, D.Sc. Developed at Roswell Park, PDT combines a nontoxic photosensitizer compound and laser light to kill the tumor and stimulate the patient’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells throughout the body. Alliance Foundation funds also contribute to better quality of life for Roswell Park patients, supporting such services as Healing Touch complementary therapy, the Creative Arts Team, and Pastoral Care.
Dr. Gupta knows that the money he raises will make a difference in the lives of his patients. Equally important, he rides because “I want to show my patients that I really care. We all really care about them, and this is one way to show our support for their fight against cancer.”