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Radiation Oncology Walks Across the United States

December 31, 2009

Cat Tartaglia, RT

Cat Tartaglia, RT

It's week seven in the Bust a Move challenge in Radiation Oncology at Norris Cotton Cancer Center, and the Sassy Lassies walking team has just reached Des Moines, Iowa. Their closest rivals, the Cross Country Crawlers, are 200 miles behind, back in Illinois. In all, eleven teams of walkers are charting their virtual progress across the US-from Calais, Maine to La Push, Washington-as part of Bust a Move. The brain child of Cat Tartaglia, an outdoor recreation and travel/tourism major turned radiation therapist, Bust a Move is designed to get everyone in Radiation Oncology moving... together.

Bust a move mapWith every single employee in Radiation Oncology signed up to participate, pedometers were distributed and the rules of the competition set. Teams of participants log total hours walked each week, and report them by Monday morning to Tartaglia. Each team's progress on the route from Calais to La Push is charted on a big map of the US hanging in the radiation therapy waiting room. Weekly challenges-for example, to increase last week's total miles by 25-allow teams to earn bonus miles in an effort to keep everyone in the competition.

The goal, Tartaglia says, is to get everyone moving. It's not hard for the radiation therapists to log miles, she says. "We walk an average of 5 miles a day, just going in and out of the radiation therapy rooms." It's the people who work behind a desk all day who are making the biggest effort to get walking, and help move their team across the map.

In addition to building camaraderie among the staff-along with a bit of competitiveness-Bust a Move is engaging patients too. "In some offices, people may congregate around the water cooler, but in Radiation Oncology, we're gathering around the map!" And clearly having some fun in the process.