CancerCare honored leaders in cancer treatment and recognized dedicated donors at its annual “Tribute to Our Friends” awards ceremony. More than 80 of CancerCare’s steadfast supporters attended the event, held Thursday, October 4 in New York City.
Two of the nation’s leading medical experts, Kathryn J. Ruddy, MD, MPH, and Mario E. Lacouture, MD, were presented with CancerCare’s prestigious “Physician of the Year” award.
Dr. Ruddy, Instructor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Medical Oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, is an expert in the medical treatment and supportive care of women coping with breast cancer, as well as an expert in adherence. She has served as presenter on many of CancerCare’s Connect Education Workshops, including “The Importance of Taking Your Pills on Schedule: Understanding Adherence” and “Understanding the Important Role of Adherence in the Medical Management of Cancer.” Dr. Ruddy also served as an editor of our Connect booklet, The Importance of Taking Your Pills on Schedule.
Dr. Lacouture is Associate Attending Physician, Department of Dermatology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. He is a leading expert in the treatment of skin cancer and melanoma, as well as in the care of treatment-related side effects that affect the skin. Dr. Lacouture is a longtime Connect Education Workshop presenter who has answered listeners’ questions during workshops such as “Progress in the Treatment of Metastatic Melanoma” and “Understanding and Managing Chemotherapy Side Effects.”
He is the author of Dr. Lacouture’s Skin Care Guide for People Living with Cancer, which provides information and practical suggestions for the prevention and treatment of treatment-related skin, hair, and nail changes. Dr. Lacouture also edited CancerCare’s Connect booklet, Treatment Update: Melanoma.
The evening continued with CancerCare Board of Trustees President Susan S. Smirnoff presenting John Evans with the “Donor of the Year Award.” Mr. Evans is a longtime supporter of CancerCare’s services, notably serving as Lung Cancer Walk for Hope Chairman for the past seven years. This past June, Mr. Evans served on CancerCare’s National Gala Committee, helping the committee to raise more than $450,000 in support of our free services.
CancerCare’s “Interdisciplinary Award” was presented to Jan S. Lewin, PhD, Professor, Department of Head and Neck Surgery, Section Chief, Speech Pathology and Audiology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Lewin is a well-known authority on speech and swallowing restoration in patients with head and neck cancer. She has served as expert presenter on our Connect Education Workshops, “Progress in the Treatment of Oral and Head and Neck Cancer” and “Current Trends in Oral and Head and Neck Cancer.”
Dr. Lewin (who was unable to attend the ceremony) reflected on her work with CancerCare in her acceptance speech:
“I am humbled and honored to receive this most prestigious award and am sorry that I am unable to be with you today to personally thank you. It has been my pleasure to participate in all of the CancerCare workshops over the years as the information and support these workshops provide to patients, families, and caregivers, as well as healthcare providers, is immeasurable. Often times, we forget that access to accurate information is unavailable to many people who fight the battle of cancer.
I would also like to thank my dear friend, Carolyn Messner, who has thought highly enough of my work to continue to include me in your educational initiatives. She has devoted herself to ensuring that critical information and services are available to people all over the world through high-quality professional presentations.
You are an amazing group of people who work tirelessly to support people with cancer and those who try to make life just a bit easier for them. I am truly flattered by your recognition of me and remain one of your biggest fans and strongest advocates.”
This year’s “Tribute to Our Friends” concluded with CancerCare’s Program Division Director Rosalie Canosa presenting the “Special Fund of the Year” award to Donna Polisar.
Donna, Donna’s twin sister Jane, and their mother, turned to CancerCare when they received devastating news that Jane had been diagnosed with cancer. After Jane passed away, Donna talked with her social worker about ways to honor Jane’s memory by sharing their love for theater and the arts. Since that time, each month Donna has arranged for a CancerCare client to enjoy a fun night out, complete with a Broadway play and dinner with a loved one.
We at CancerCare thank everyone who attended this year’s “Tribute to Our Friends” event, and indeed thank all of our dedicated supporters who help us continue to provide free support services to anyone, anywhere affected by cancer.