(Baton Rouge, La.) Three prestigious awards, named after individuals who have supported cancer patients through volunteer leadership, were recently presented to several exemplary community members and an outstanding corporate partner. The awards were presented at a special reception at Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center Tuesday, Nov. 29.
“All of the award recipients are superheros among us—and for that, we all thank you for the respective roles you have played in helping take the fight against cancer forward in our community,” said Donna Saurage, chair of the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Foundation Board of Directors and chair of the joint development committee. “They are extraordinary people who give of their time and treasure for the sheer satisfaction of making a difference; it deserves special recognition and it’s the reason why we are honoring them.”
The Hillar C. Moore Jr., Memorial Outstanding Leadership Award was presented by Steven Moore, member of the Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center Foundation Foard of Directors, to Sheldon Johnson, MD, radiation oncologist. The award recognizes a Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center volunteer with unwavering dedication, outstanding leadership and a sense of responsibility in the fight against cancer.
Dr. Johnson, a radiation oncologist who joined the Cancer Center in 1981 and is now semi-retired, is loved and revered by the thousands of patients he has cared for throughout his career. His commitment to the organization’s advancement as a board member, philanthropist and volunteer is also widely known throughout the community. He has supported many of the Cancer Center’s fundraising campaigns and made a leadership gift to the effort to bring TomoTherapy, the most sophisticated radiation therapy technology at the time, to the Cancer Center in 2004. Today, he continues to dedicate generous amounts of time and resources to patients and the Cancer Center.
Mrs. Jean Curet James, and her husband David, presented the Louis D. Curet Volunteer Fundraising Award to Merrill Lynch, who was represented by Donald Minor, director and associate market manager. This award recognizes an individual, organization or foundation that has launched or led a significant philanthropic effort in support of Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center.
Since 1992, Merrill Lynch has supported the Cancer Center and its mission to improve survivorship and lessen the burden of cancer. Most notably, the company has served as title sponsor of the Cancer Center’s golf tournament for the past eight years, which has raised more than $2 million to provide patients with comprehensive cancer services, including groundbreaking clinical trials, survivorship support, multidisciplinary care teams and patient assistance to those who need it most. Since the start of the company’s partnership with the Cancer Center nearly 25 years ago, Merrill Lynch has donated more than $300,000 to help fight cancer in the region.
The D. Jensen Holliday Memorial Community Service Award is a community-wide award presented to an individual whose vision and dedication to the greater good of the community has made a sustained and measurable difference in the fight against cancer. Estelle Holliday presented this year’s award to Bob and Janet Leslie and the J.L. Foundation.
The Leslies created the J.L. Foundation after their teenage daughter, Jennifer, passed away from a long, courageous battle with leukemia. The Foundation, which has raised more than $1.6 million since 2002, assists individuals living with leukemia across South Louisiana. One-hundred percent of the money raised goes directly to patient support with the Leslies personally covering any expenses. More than $100,000 of these funds have been provided to the Cancer Center’s patients, which is meant to quickly assist families with reimbursement for transportation, per diems for hospital visits and more. In addition to the financial gifts, the Leslies also offer emotional support and empathy for families impacted by leukemia by providing practical advice and resources outside the clinical community.
“On behalf of this board, the Cancer Center leadership team, every volunteer and team member, I offer my sincere gratitude to all the award recipients,” said Brett Furr, chairman of Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center’s board of directors. “Together, with these awardees, the Cancer Center continues its pursuit of providing the highest quality treatment and lifelong care of our friends and neighbors in need.”
About Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center
As a regional destination for cancer care, Mary Bird Perkins – Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center offers the most advanced technology and services provided by a dedicated team of nationally-recognized oncology experts. The Cancer Center provides best-practice, comprehensive care at every stage of the cancer journey, including disease site-specific multidisciplinary care teams, a robust clinical research program, extensive supportive care services and is the only facility in the Gulf South with the revolutionary Leksell Gamma Knife® Icon™. As a nonprofit organization, donor generosity is essential to sustaining the mission of improving survivorship and lessening the burden of cancer for so many throughout Southeast Louisiana and beyond. For more information on the Cancer Center, and how you can become involved, please visit mbpolol.org.