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AACR Remembers George H.W. Bush for Role in Cancer Research Support


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George H.W. Bush

George H.W. Bush

The Board of Directors of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) released an announcement expressing sadness upon the passing of former President George H.W. Bush, on November 30 at the age of 94.

Once elected, President Bush appointed Bernadine Healy, MD, in 1991 to lead the National Institutes of Health (NIH), making Dr. Healy the first woman to serve in this position. Shortly after her appointment, the NIH Women’s Health Initiative, a $500 million effort to study the causes, prevention, and cures of diseases that affect women, was launched.

Honorary Service With C-Change

After leaving the White House, Mr. Bush, along with his wife, Barbara, served as honorary Co-Chairs from 1998 to 2017 for C-Change: Collaborating to Conquer Cancer, an effort to eliminate cancer as a major public health problem by leveraging the expertise and resources of a unique multisector membership. Officers of the AACR and representatives of the AACR’s Science Policy and Legislative Committee were actively involved in the work of C-Change and attended regular meetings of the group. One of the events at the Bush home in Kennebunkport, Maine, was especially inspiring to cancer leaders who had become keenly aware of the commitment of Mr. and Mrs. Bush to making major progress against cancer.

After 19 years of service to the community, C-Change officially closed on April 30, 2017. The C-Change Board of Directors, supported by Mr. and Mrs. Bush, unanimously decided that their original purpose of making advances against cancer on all fronts, through collaboration across sectors and organizations, had been achieved. The entire cancer research community is indebted to Mr. Bush for bringing the broader cancer community together and for his stalwart dedication to addressing the cancer problem.

Personally Touched by Cancer

Cancer personally touched Mr. and Mrs. Bush, when their daughter, Robin, died on October 11, 1953, about 2 months before she would have turned 4 years old, after battling leukemia for 7 months. Honoring Robin’s legacy, Mr. and Mrs. Bush became devoted to helping those affected by cancer and actively supported visionary cancer research. In 1977, they joined the Board of Visitors at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and set out to motivate others among the public to share in the quest for more effective cancer therapies. Lending their names, influence, and philanthropic support over the years, the Bushes helped raise nearly $90 million in support of cutting-edge oncology research at MD Anderson. 


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