Race for Hope Profile: Brian Gambacorta, Runner and Inspirer!

Team "Brian's Believers" 2011 CRSS Race for Hope

Team “Brian’s Believers” at the 2011 CRSS Race for Hope

Name: Brian Gambacorta

Age: 23

Hometown: Albany, NY

CRSS Race for Hope participant since: 2011

1) What is your connection to the Capital region? I was born and raised in Albany, NY.

2) Who or what is the inspiration behind your participation? First and foremost, Dr. Sara Scheid an ENT from Capital Region Special Surgery. At the beginning of last year, the lymph nodes in both sides of my neck were noticeably enlarged. I had seen other doctors before Dr. Scheid who were not concerned with my swollen neck and believed it wasn’t anything major. However, after Dr. Scheid scoped inside my nose, she knew right away that something was not right. She immediately scheduled me for a biopsy two days later. It turned out that I had a rare form of head and neck cancer called Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma. Don’t worry, not many people have heard of it.

Dr. Scheid was unbelievably caring and helpful throughout the entire process. Because of the rarity of my cancer, I went through radiation and chemotherapy treatments at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Still, Dr. Scheid continued to offer her advice and care throughout my treatments, and called me all the time just to check in and see how I was doing. Not only is Dr. Scheid an amazing doctor, but the genuine care and concern she had and showed for me was something I had never experienced from any doctor. I will forever be grateful to her and all that she has done for my family and me.

Also, I would like to add my parents, too. My mom is currently going through treatments for the same rare cancer I had last year. (We caught it early – thanks to Dr. Scheid again!) She is doing well and it’s amazing how positive she has remained throughout the entire
process. Also, my dad has been so calm and supportive for both of us.  He definitely deserves a vacation when this is all over!

3) What song gets you moving on race day? It would be hard to leave out Call Me Maybe.*

*Not to be confused with Cookie Monster’s Remix, “Share It, Maybe

4) Any advice for a new CRSS Race for Hope participant?  Enjoy it! It is such a great event and you will meet so many wonderful and inspiring people there. An event like this makes you realize that we all are very fortunate just to be able to participate in it.

5) You turn the last corner and the finish line is in view, the best
reward you could find waiting for you is the finish itself. Last year, I had just recently finished treatment, and I barely finished the race by walking it. But, there was no way I wasn’t going to finish. Hopefully, I will be able to run it this year.

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About CRSS Race for Hope

Since 2009, the Capital Region Special Surgery Race for Hope events have raised over $200,000, of which all monies have been dedicated to fundraising, since overhead costs are underwritten by Capital Region Special Surgery. This year's 5K will be held on Saturday, September 30, 2017. The major goal of the Capital Region Special Surgery – Race for Hope Fund, in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, is to make grants to not-for-profit organizations/programs serving uninsured and underinsured patients who are experiencing a financial hardship related to a brain, head, or neck cancer diagnosis in the Capital Region (Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, Washington counties). Thus far, these proceeds have been allocated to the following local 501c3 organizations: Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region, Inc. C.R. Wood Cancer Center at Glens Falls Hospital, Ellis Hospital Foundation, Inc., Saratoga Hospital—Mollie Wilmot Radiation Oncology Center, and patient services at St. Peter’s Cancer Care Center.
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