Now, more than ever, we need to celebrate what’s still good – in the world and in SWOG Cancer Research Network. That’s why the new Special Recognition Awards sponsored by The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research arrive right on time.

Hope announced it would be sponsoring new awards earlier this year, and we were supposed to celebrate the first round of winners in San Francisco. The pandemic forced us to adopt other plans. I’ll still share the winners with you during the plenary session, but it will be done virtually (register now at SWOG.org!).

But first, you’ve got to send in nominations! Here are the categories:

Mentorship: Nominees should go “above and beyond basic responsibility/job description to provide mentorship, leadership training, and support for the next generation.”

Humanitarian: Nominees should commit “significant time and effort to helping others in need, including patients, colleagues, or those in the greater community.” This work doesn’t need to be cancer-related. 

Innovation: Nominees should “demonstrate innovation and novelty in trial design or translational medicine, address difficult issues in implementing approved clinical trials, or do any ‘outside the box’ thinking that improves SWOG and its cancer trials.”

Patient advocacy: Nominees should "actively and effectively work to improve cancer care on behalf of patients.” They do not necessarily have to be a member of the patient advocate committee.

Please take a few minutes and fill out a nomination form. There are only five fields – and that includes your name and email. Hope kept the process super simple so they can get as many nominations as possible. We are in particular need of nominees for advocacy and innovation. Please recognize excellence in our group, noting the deadline is Friday, September 4.

Winners get a plaque and a check for $500. I argue they get something greater: the knowledge that someone has seen and respected their work and appreciated the extra effort. Right now, when money and time (and patience and stamina) are at a premium, it’s even more important to take the time to celebrate exceptional efforts.

I can think of so many trial innovators among us and so many exceptional patient advocates. I know you can, too. So please take a few minutes to recognize them. Just remember that this is for rank-and-file SWOG members only. Executive officers and committee chairs aren’t eligible for these special Hope awards. Neither are top staff leaders like Nathan Eriksen, Dana Sparks, and Mike LeBlanc.

Looking forward to celebrating excellence with you!

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