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19th Annual Cancer Leadership Reception

19th Annual Cancer Leadership Reception

Friends of Cancer Research Hosts 19th Annual Cancer Leadership Awards Reception Honoring Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Congressman Fred Upton, and Marlene Malek

On October 22, 2015, Friends of Cancer Research (Friends) welcomed leaders from government, advocacy, industry, and science to its 19th Annual Cancer Leadership Awards Reception to celebrate another year of partnership and innovation on the behalf of patients.

The annual reception is an opportunity to recognize extraordinary work across the fields of cancer research, awareness, treatment, and detection. Past honorees include: Senator Edward Kennedy, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Senator John McCain, Secretary Michael Levitt, Senator Daniel Inouye, Senator Judd Gregg, Dr. Francis Collins, Senator Arlen Specter, Governor Martin O’Malley, Dr. Margaret Foti, Governor Deval Patrick, Governor Bobby Jindal, and Congressman John Dingell.


(L-R) Ellen Sigal, Marlene Malek,
Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Congressman Fred Upton

This year, Friends honored the President of Friends of Cancer Research, Marlene Malek, with the Ellen V. Sigal Advocacy Leadership Award for her contributions both to Friends, as well as more broadly by bringing together the right people to discuss and then take action against cancer. “What was supposed to be a one-year project is now about to enter its 20th year, and there is no one else I would have rather been on this journey with than Marlene,” said Ellen Sigal. “Her dedication to this issue is truly inspirational.” Watch the video below to learn more about Marlene’s contributions to the field.

Friends of Cancer Research 2015 Cancer Leadership Awards Reception Video


(L-R) Ellen Sigal, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Marlene Malek                                                                                                (L-R) Ellen Sigal, Congressman Fred Upton, Marlene Malek

Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Colorado (pictured above, left) and Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan (pictured above, right) received Friends of Cancer Research Leadership Awards for their work on the 21st Century Cures Act, which would increase patient-focused drug development and save FDA resources in regards to supplemental drug review, in addition to their continued commitment to improving health for all Americans. “We never would have been able to achieve some of our successes without the help and support of our friends, Reps. DeGette and Upton, and are forever grateful for their time commitment and dedication to the cause,” Sigal said.

At the end of the awards ceremony, NIH Director, Francis Collins, surprised the crowd by grabbing his guitar and then proceeded to serenade attendees with a rendition of Carrie Newcomer’s “If Not Now.” Watch the video below for the Director’s performance.

Director of NIH, Francis Collins singing “If Not Now”

All of us at Friends of Cancer Research would like to thank our Board of Directors and our supporters, colleagues, and collaborators from academia, industry, and advocacy for another incredible year. We are deeply appreciative of all you do for patients everywhere. Keep up with our work on Twitter @cancerresrch and at