IU Simon Cancer Center honors its 2007 Torchbearer award recipientsINDIANAPOLIS -- June 29, 2007 --The 2007 Torchbearer Awards were presented May 31 at the culmination of a two-day Celebration of Life, hosted by the CompleteLife program at the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. The award recognized individuals for making a positive contribution to others with cancer in their life.
In the staff/faculty category, Nasser Hanna, MD, thoracic oncologist for the IU Simon Cancer Center, was honored for founding Lungs for Life, the only nonprofit organization in Indiana dedicated to reducing the burden of lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in both the U.S. and Indiana, and tobacco accounts for 90 percent of these deaths.
Dr. Hanna and his wife, Amy, who serves as president of the organization, have devoted their personal passions to the mission of Lungs for Life. Their nonprofit supports lung cancer research that will lead to better treatments for the disease as well as student education programs aimed at preventing future smokers. After its short three years of existence, Lungs for Life has donated $50,000 to the IU Simon Cancer Center for thoracic oncology research and engaged more than 1000 Hoosier students in educational workshops.
“The Hanna’s dedication addresses a huge public health issue in our state, which has the fourth highest smoking rate in the nation,” says Amber Senseny, senior development officer of major gifts for the cancer center, in nominating Hanna. “They are truly carrying the torch for better health in Indiana.”
Vince and Cindy Todd, creators of The Heroes Foundation, were the recipients in the adult/patient family category. Conceived in October 2000 as an idea among friends, Vince Todd took the initiative to start the foundation shortly after he fought his own battle with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Since then, the Todds and the Heroes Foundation have been steadfast supporters of survivorship services at the IU Simon Cancer Center, providing annual support to the CompleteLife program for patients and their families.
“I feel that the CompleteLife Program epitomizes what the Heroes Foundation is trying to accomplish,” states Vince. “I have confidence that research will continue to improve cancer treatments, but I believe there will always be unmet needs of the patients and families who need a reliable resource and help getting through the experience.”
The Todds are also active members of the center’s development board and are committed to fundraising through two major Heroes Foundation events. In addition, they established the Susan J. Patrick Fellowship so IU Simon Cancer Center fellows would have the experience of studying survivorship as a part of their clinical research experience. The fellowship honors Cindy Todd’s mother.
For more information about Lungs for Life, visit http://www.lungsforlife5k.org. For more information about the Heroes Foundation, visit http://www.heroesfoundation.org.