Moffitt Cancer Center surgeon raises money for cancer research

Dr. Larry Robinson is passionate about finding a cure for lung cancer. The Moffitt Cancer Center surgeon is using his musical talent to raise money for the fight.

Dr. Larry Robinson has been using his hands for a very long time. He started playing the piano when he was five. 

"It's a lot of fun. And I play for myself and then occasionally somebody else listens, but the dogs love it. This cat usually sits right beside me," shared Dr. Robinson.

Now, Dr. Robinson stands beside other surgeons performing lung cancer operations at Moffitt Cancer Center. 

"Almost a quarter of a million people get lung cancer in the United States every year. I think it's 230 thousand people and about 160 thousand people will die of it. So it's a big problem," explained Dr. Robinson. 

Dr. Robinson is so passionate about trying to find a cure for lung cancer, that nine years ago he started a non-profit called "Prelude to a Cure." 

"It's difficult to find seed grants. So, we came up with the idea that maybe we could start a charity to raise money to provide seed grants, competitive seed grants that people would apply for and the local area," Dr. Robinson added.

To help bring notoriety to his effort he is participating in a fundraiser called "Knit-A-Lung." For a donation, they will give you a charm in the shape of lungs, and some basic knitting patterns, to help you create a knitting project.

"It's sort of a fun way here to go after a very serious disease," said Dr. Robinson. "It gives us an opportunity, all sorts of people to participate." 

Dr. Ben Creelan, a Medical Oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center, got one of those opportunities. He received a grant from the non-profit. 

"Our research is looking specifically at live cell therapy to fight lung cancer, taking the cells from a patient's own body, growing them and then giving them back to the patient. And so, this money is allowing us to look back and see what makes that treatment work," Dr. Crellin explained.

For Dr. Robinson, playing the piano gives him a time to relax and not worry about making mistakes. 

"So this allows me to make mistakes, which I did. I played this, but nothing bad happens. I just can practice again, a lot of do overs," shared Dr. Robinson.

Dr. Robinson hopes his grass-root effort hit's the right notes to help find a cure for lung cancer.