The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has selected Boston-area resident and prostate cancer survivor Emanuel "Manny" Hamelburg as its 2012 Survivor Circle Award winner. On behalf of ASTRO, Edward M. Kennedy, Jr., will present Hamelburg with his award, including $1,000, during the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, October 30, at 10:45 a.m. during ASTRO's 54th Annual Meeting. ASTRO's 2012 Annual Meeting will take place October 28 - 31 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The Survivor Circle Award recognizes a cancer survivor in the ASTRO Annual Meeting host city who has devoted his or her time to helping others who are living with cancer in their community.
Hamelburg was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1987 at age 47. His treatment consisted of external beam radiation at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. Subsequently, in 1992, when bone metastases developed, he was treated at the National Cancer Institute with an experimental chemotherapy, to which his tumors responded but he experienced renal failure. He was told then that he would be lucky to live three more years. Two decades later, Hamelburg has turned his experience with prostate cancer into an inspirational journey and has been unceasingly dedicated to cancer awareness in his community.
"It is an overwhelming honor to be recognized by ASTRO with this award," said Hamelburg. "Since my diagnosis 25 years ago, I have strived to educate myself about prostate cancer and the different cancer treatments and fought for cancer awareness for others facing the same challenges. I am very grateful to be selected as this year's Survivor Circle Award Winner."
Throughout his volunteer work, he has tirelessly spent his time traveling around the country educating others about prostate cancer and the possible treatment options, helping them to deal with the physical and emotional side effects, and coping with long-term survivorship.
In 1994, Hamelburg was a critical player in forming the Massachusetts Prostate Cancer Coalition (MPCC) and served as its first executive director and then a member of the Board of Directors for many years. Since the formation of the organization, the MPCC has grown to include more than 400 members and continues to advocate on behalf of prostate cancer patients. In addition to advocacy, the MPCC also holds two major meetings each year for prostate cancer survivors and their family members and supports prostate cancer research through fundraising efforts at various academic centers in Massachusetts.
Along with his efforts with the MPCC, Hamelburg has been actively participating in prostate cancer awareness through many other avenues. He has spoken at many national conferences, including the President's Cancer Panel in Birmingham, Ala., with Lance Armstrong, and the University of Michigan's Prostate Cancer Symposium in Ann Arbor, Mich. Hamelburg also often served as a patient advocate on peer review panels for the Department of Defense and NIH by reviewing proposals for grants for prostate cancer research, and was the chairman of the Prostate Cancer Advisory Committee of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
"Throughout all of my activities to support prostate cancer patients and survivors, my number one activity has been regularly talking and counseling men on the phone or meeting them for lunch or coffee. I'm still doing this today. I refer to myself as a "Miracle on a Mission." I've been giving back since 1993 and I have no intention of stopping anytime soon. I also believe that my activities are not just to help others, but have been an important factor in my survival. I learned that helping others and loving my family are the keys to my life," Hamelburg said.
"ASTRO is extremely proud to award Mr. Hamelburg with this year's Survivor Circle Award. To see a cancer survivor dedicate his life to cancer awareness, as he has done, is beyond admirable," said Michael Steinberg, MD, FASTRO, president of ASTRO's Board of Directors. "He is a remarkable role model for anyone who is looking to give back to their community."
Edward Moore Kennedy, Jr., will present a keynote address, "Future Trends in Cancer Survivorship," on Tuesday, October 30, at the 9:45 a.m. General Session and be a presenter at the 10:45 a.m. Awards Ceremony of ASTRO's 54th Annual Meeting. Kennedy is the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy, and a nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy and the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He is the president and co-founder of Marwood Group & Co., a health care-focused financial services firm. Kennedy earned his undergraduate degree from Wesleyan University, a master's degree from Yale University and his law degree from the University of Connecticut Law School. He is an active leader in the civil rights movement for persons with disabilities and health and disability law issues. Kennedy is particularly dedicated to this work because he is a cancer survivor--30 years ago he lost his leg to osteogenic sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer.
ASTRO's 54th Annual Meeting, held in Boston, October 28-31, 2012, is the premier scientific meeting in radiation oncology and is expected to attract more than 11,000 attendees including oncologists from all disciplines, medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, radiation oncology nurses and nurse practitioners, biologists, physician assistants, practice administrators, industry representatives and other health care professionals from around the world. The theme of the 2012 Annual Meeting is "Advancing Patient Care Through Innovation" and examines how innovation in technology and patient care delivery can lead to improved patient outcomes. The four-day scientific meeting includes six plenary papers, 408 oral presentations, 1,724 posters and 130 digital posters in 63 tracks/topic areas.
ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through education, clinical practice, advancement of science and advocacy. For more information on radiation therapy, visit www.rtanswers.org. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.