Cancer research: Dodger fans enter the game on ThinkCure! weekend

August 13, 2013 | by

Sean Kent and Ben Teller were cured of Hodgkin lymphoma. Ryan Compton was cured of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. All three embody what City of Hope does best: Saves lives. And all three shared their stories during the sixth annual ThinkCure Weekend at Dodger Stadium.

Dr. Stephen Forman and former patient and comedian Sean Kent take the field during ThinkCure! Weekend at Dodger stadium. Proceeds help fund cancer research at City of Hope.

Dr. Stephen J. Forman and former patient and comedian Sean Kent take the field during ThinkCure Weekend at Dodger stadium. Proceeds help fund cancer research at City of Hope.

Sean Kent: His ordeal began when he began noticing “lots of little tumors” on his neck. Lacking health insurance, he tried to ignore them. When he became too tired to finish a jog, however, he went to a doctor – and was diagnosed with stage III Hodgkin lymphoma. Today, the writer and comedian offers a sometimes wry, but uniquely personal view of cancer. VIDEO (His new series, "Modern Dads," premiers Aug. 18 on A&E.)

Ben Teller: Diagnosed with cancer when he was just 18 years old and finishing up high school, Teller underwent chemotherapy and quickly saw his lymphoma pushed into remission. Left with the impression that cancer wasn’t as bad as he thought, he was blindsided when the disease returned.  He's since undergone two blood stem cell transplants. Now cancer-free, he's tackling life as if cancer never happened. VIDEO

Ryan Compton: At just 22 months old, Ryan was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. He underwent intensive chemotherapy for three and a half years, but the cancer returned with a vengeance just 10 days after Ryan finished the treatment. “It was a different way of living,” his mom, Maggie Compton, tells CBSLA. “You live moment to moment. You can’t think about how is it going to be tomorrow or five years from now. Is he going to be here next week?” Ryan's only hope was a bone marrow transplant. After finding the “perfect donor match,” Ryan is now off all his medications – and tackling his interrupted childhood with enthusiasm.

During the ThinkCure event, held this past weekend, the Dodgers didn’t just ask these former patients to share their stories. They also asked their fans to make a difference in the fight against cancer by supporting research at City of Hope and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

The fans stepped up. Some donated directly to ThinkCure, a community-based nonprofit organization that helps raise money for cancer research. Others bid on Dodger memorabilia and special experiences such as meeting broadcaster Vin Scully or a trip to the Dodgers' Spring Training home at Camelback Ranch.Over the past five years, the annual ThinkCure event has provided a total of $1.8 million in research grants to the two hospitals, setting the stage for medical breakthroughs.

One of the founders of ThinkCure, Dr. Stephen J. Forman, M.D., the Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation at City of Hope, summed up the impact of research on diseases such as Hodgkin’s lymphoma and other cancers.

“We come to work every day thinking ‘cure,’” said Forman in an interview with CBS. “Anybody ever cured of cancer can thank the scientists and clinicians who did the work that led to the therapy that led to the treatment that led to their return to their home, their family and their work, their life.”

At City of Hope, those thanks keep coming.