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A Dragon Boat for the Cure

Wednesday, Nov 05, 2014

The staff in the Emergency Department already work as a team, so it seemed natural to team up in a boat in the Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival to raise money for a good cause.

For Robert Linkenheimer, DO there's a simple reason why he participates in the Philadelphia Dragon Boat races.

"The reason I do it is out of friendship," says Dr. Linkenheimer, medical director of the Doylestown Hospital Emergency Department.

One of his neighbors, Kevin Edmonds, developed pancreatic cancer at age 50, approximately 18 months after his older sister, Nora, had died of pancreatic cancer. Kevin died in 2012 at age 51. His wife, Christine, started a foundation, A Love For Life, in Kevin and Nora's honor, to help fund a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Linkenheimer has been involved with A Love for Life for several years. The mission of the local nonprofit is to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research. The average survival rate for stage IV pancreatic cancer is a little more than 6 months. A Love for Life wants to change that. The group has partnered with the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. All of the funds they raise go toward funding research in Philadelphia.

One of the ways A Love for Life raises money is through dragon boat racing.

Never heard of it? Neither had Elaine Schultheiss, RN until earlier this spring. She and about 15 other nurses and physicians from the Doylestown Hospital Emergency Department were recruited by Dr. Linkenheimer to man a dragon boat at this year's Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival.

The sport dates back to ancient China and is growing in popularity around the globe. A crew of 20 paddlers follows the rhythm of the drummer and the guidance of a steer person in a boat that looks like something out of a Chinese New Year parade. This year's 13th annual Philadelphia International Dragon Boat Festival brought teams from around the world to compete and have fun on the Schuylkill River.

Elaine was the drummer and team captain for the Love for Life 4. The word team is important, as they say teamwork is everything in dragon boat racing.

Many of Dr. Linkenheimer's colleagues, and several family members, devoted time to multiple practices on the river and fundraising for A Love for Life. The culmination was race day on October 4. Hundreds of participants and spectators gathered on the shores of the Schuylkill for the exciting event.

"Race day was so much fun," says Elaine. "It was all about teamwork."

Groups of eight boats compete in three 500-meter races. A Love for Life 4 finished a respectable 41st out of about 150 teams. "We missed a medal by less than one second," notes Elaine. "We came together to not only benefit this wonderful charity, but to also strengthen the bond and camaraderie that exist within our 'Doylestown Hospital family'."

For Dr. Linkenheimer, the teamwork resonates not only from his life in the Doylestown Hospital ED, but more personally from his experience with his friends and neighbors during their nearly 2-year battle with cancer.

"What I experienced with Kevin and Christine was more than memorable. I witnessed a family be more together and celebrate every day while continuously widening their circle of friends and allowing each to help," says Dr. Linkehnheimer.

As for the Doylestown Hospital team, "We're hoping to get an even bigger group next year," says Elaine.

A Love For Life 4 Team Members:

  • Amber Cichon RN, ED
  • Rodney Craig (family)
  • Joanne Danyluk RN, ED
  • Brenda Foley MD, ED
  • Al Galdo former RN, ED
  • Jennifer Harrar CRNP, ED
  • Jill Kane DO, ED
  • Heather Lemek EDT, ED
  • Doug Linkenheimer (family)
  • Bob Linkenheimer DO, ED
  • Alison Linske RN, ED
  • Greg Ott (family)
  • Kate Petrillo RN, ED
  • Christine Schultheiss (family)
  • Elaine Schultheiss RN, ED
  • Beth Sheridan Clerk, ED
  • Terri Simon RN, ED Case Mgt.
  • Rob Slade MD, ED
  • Maureen Slade RN, PACU
  • Barb Taubenberger RN, MSN, ED
  • Gail Wilt RN (family)
  • George Muller - *Emeritus (family)

About Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute

Doylestown Health's Cancer Institute offers patients the quality care they expect from a leader in cancer diagnosis and treatment — close to home. Accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, and a member of Jefferson's Sidney Kimmel Cancer Network, our board-certified physicians and oncology-certified practitioners provide comprehensive, coordinated care and services for the full range of cancer diagnoses including breast, lung and gastrointestinal cancers.

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