I often profile unique customer events here on The Genetic Link and I recently became aware of an event worthy of note. I want to share the experiences that the team at the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg had at the Relay for Life event. Relay for Life is an event that was born in 1985 in Tacoma, Washington (USA), where a doctor ran for 24 hours in a stadium to raise money for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society. This was the birth of the Relay for Life event which has since grown throughout the United States and into Canada, Australia and many European countries with the support of the American Cancer Society and the International Union Against Cancer. Each event is held over a 24 hour period with teams of participants taking turns to walk or run for the full 24 hours. It is an event that has become synonymous with a show of solidarity for all patients with cancer.
For the first time this year, the Integrated Biobank of Luxembourg (IBBL) participated in the Luxembourg edition of the Relay for Life with a team of runners but also, in a more unique way. The Relay for Life in Luxembourg is organized by the Foundation Cancer and gathers over 10,000 participants. This year, the Foundation Cancer invited researchers to participate in a Research Village as part of the event. The Research Village was designed to educate the public on the types of medical research that are happening in the country. As IBBL’s mandate is to be an international center of excellence for biobanking, a leader in biospecimen research and a partner in the introduction of personalized medicine in Luxembourg, this was a natural fit with their goal to help educate the public on the role of DNA in healthcare.
The IBBL was an enthusiastic participant at this year’s Relay for Life (on March 12-13, 2011) and set up a stand titled “My DNA Portrait” in the Research Village to educate the public on the impact DNA has on healthcare today. As part of their display, they were demonstrating how to collect and extract DNA from saliva (with Oragene•DNA). Once the DNA was extracted, they would then create a unique DNA portrait from the extracted DNA. In addition to viewing this demonstration, participants were invited to submit their names for a prize draw and 10 lucky winners would get their own DNA portrait. The winners will be invited for a personal visit and tour of IBBL’s facilities and at that time, will provide a saliva sample with Oragene•DNA and have their unique DNA artwork produced.
According to Arnaud D’Agostini, Communications Manager of the IBBL:
“This event is an ideal way for us to help the public understand the role of DNA in healthcare. As the newly founded independent, not-for-profit biobank designed to promote new, high quality research in Luxembourg and to bring the next generation of healthcare to the citizens of Luxembourg, we see the importance of DNA in healthcare every day – whether it be for diagnosis of disease or for disease research. The availability of the Oragene•DNA kits helped make this project possible.”
At the end of the event on Sunday evening, Arnaud estimates that over 500 people visited the IBBL stand to learn how DNA impacts modern healthcare and 200 participated in the prize draw. Overall, the event was a great success and IBBL is already looking forward to next year.
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