Slice of Lime: Patient's daughter is making a difference in other lives

June 10, 2015 | by Laurel DiGangi

Slice of Lime The concept for Slice of Lime was inspired by lymphoma patient Dave Sobel’s avid love of golf. Thus was born his daughter's idea for an annual fundraising golf tournament. Now that tournament is helping hematology patients in Simi Valley, California. From left: Eddie Perez, Josh Isbell, Jayson Jones and Ted Barnes.  (Photo courtesy Lauren Miller)

Dave Sobel’s philosophy had always been about living life to the fullest. He loved golfing, listening to rock music and tropical relaxation. As his daughter, Lauren Miller, recalled: “His dream was to retire in the Caribbean and spend his days running a boat, a lime wedge in his tropical drink.”

Sadly, Sobel’s dream never came to fruition. In 2010, at the age of 54, his life was cut short by angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma, a very rare and aggressive cancer.

In honor of her father’s memory,  Miller , a legal secretary, created the Slice of Lime Foundation, named after her father’s retirement dream, as well as the lime green cancer ribbon for lymphoma. Since 2010, the charity has raised more than  $35,000 for blood cancer research and treatment.

Recently, to mark Slice of Lime’s fifth anniversary, Miller resolved to make a direct impact on the Simi Valley community, where her father and mother, Anita, had raised her and her siblings, and where her mother still resides today. “I wanted to do something special for Simi Valley residents,” Miller said.  After some initial research, she pledged $25,000 for City of Hope’s new community clinic in Simi Valley, to be raised by Slice of Lime.

This donation is the first to be specifically designated to the Simi Valley clinic.{C}

Bringing exceptional cancer care closer to home                                           

The clinic, which opened in September 2014, allows blood cancer patients in Simi Valley and its vicinity to receive testing, supportive care and chemotherapy closer to home, rather than driving 110 miles round-trip to Duarte. Miller’s pledge will be solely directed to hematological cancer patient care, including supplies, resources and equipment. Heading up the facility is Elizabeth Meyering, M.D., who specializes in oncology and hematology.

“It’s great for patients to have an extension of City of Hope near their homes,” Meyering said. “Patients who’ve already been seen at the Duarte facility feel a great sense of security knowing that an extension of their hematology services are available locally. And new patients who want that association with City of Hope don’t have to go all the way to Duarte to receive these services.”

In addition, having access to a clinic closer to home provides many patients with a better quality of life. “For patients going though active therapy, a long car ride is torture, and not only that but it is time that’s very much wasted,” Meyering said. “Patients who are able to maintain their quality of life are able to fare better. They have lower stress levels, overall better health and better emotional health, too.”

Patients may also have better adherence to treatment recommendations when a facility is available closer to home. “Sometimes when patients are asked to commute to long distances, they might not always make it to all their appointments because it’s logistically impossible,” Meyering said.

Golf, trips and rock 'n' roll

The concept for Slice of Lime was inspired by Sobel’s avid love of golf, as well as a passion he shared with his daughter: classic rock 'n' roll. “He brought me up on the Doors, the Stones, Aerosmith and all those bands,”  Miller said. “Just before he was diagnosed, we were reading some rock 'n' roll biographies, and learned that Alice Cooper golfed every day.” Thus was born the idea for an annual fundraising golf tournament with celebrity guests.

“We had drummer Mickey Jones as a celebrity guest our first year,” Miller said. “And we’ve received donations from other rock stars, like Trent Reznor and the Doobie Brothers.” This year’s event on June 15, 2015, marks the tournament’s fifth year, and will be held at the Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley. Slice of Lime has also sponsored other charity events, such as Kick Ball Day for families and a comedy event at Flappers featuring Fritz Coleman, the KNBC-TV weathercaster.

Fortuitously, the fall before he was diagnosed, Sobel, a marketing executive, was able to practice his carpe diem philosophy in a meaningful way. He took a special trip with each of his children, taking his daughter Pam to Aruba, son Scott to a Panthers game in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Lauren and her husband, Aaron, to Hawaii, accompanied by his wife and granddaughters, Jordyn and Hayden.

Today, Miller has very fond memories of that trip. “It was so much fun being in that tropical world, watching my dad and husband take Jordyn in the ocean, and having him and my mom help with the kids so my husband and I were able to get a break, too,”  Miller said.

A tangible difference

In recognition of the $25,000 pledge, a special plaque recognizing Sobel’s family and the Slice of Lime Foundation’s contribution will be prominently displayed at the Simi Valley clinic.

“For me, this is really exciting and meaningful,”  Miller said. “It’s amazing to have something tangible we can point to it and say, 'Look, we’re making a difference.'”

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Learn more about the services and specialties offered at City of Hope | Simi Valley.

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Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673)You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.

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