The pandemic has brought out a lot of good, in a lot people. Volunteers are staffing COVID vaccination clinics. Patrons are trying to keep local businesses afloat by ordering virtually. Mentorships continue to thrive. In these dark times, we can always use more of this!

That’s why I encourage you to nominate a SWOG colleague or staff member for a special recognition award sponsored by The Hope Foundation for Cancer Research. Last year, Hope launched new awards to honor our members and staff for going above and beyond as a mentor, a humanitarian, an innovator, and a patient advocate.

We alternate the awards. At our spring meeting in April, during the general plenary, I’ll announce winners in the humanitarian and mentoring categories.

For humanitarianism, nominees should commit significant time and effort to helping others in need, including patients, colleagues, or those in their greater community. This work is not necessarily cancer-related.

For mentorship, nominees should go above and beyond basic responsibility or job description to provide mentorship, leadership training, and support for the next generation.

Who at SWOG fills the bill? Nominate them over at the Hope website. The form is simple – just four boxes to fill out. Winners will get $500, a plaque, and the knowledge that their work, done above and beyond their clinical and research duties, is noticed and valued.

Last year, long-time SWOG leader Dr. Frank Meyskens won the new Hope humanitarian award. As a national expert in cancer prevention, with a distinguished 40-year career, and one of SWOG's most committed and progressive leaders, Dr. Meyskens helped found our palliative and end of life care committee – the work that spurred his nomination.

Dr. Charles Thomas of Oregon Health & Science University last year won the new Hope mentoring award. His 50+ (50+!) nominations were especially inspiring. Another long-time SWOG member and part of the GI, lung, and radiation oncology committees, Dr. Thomas has led or co-led seven SWOG studies and served as a mentor for two Coltman fellows and is a tireless teacher, coach, and collaborator for dozens of cancer physicians and researchers.

Who will be next? I can’t wait to see your nominations. We need to celebrate good people and their good works. Thank you in advance for honoring our very best.

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