THE SEVEN BLOCKS OF GRANITE CHAMPIONS
The Lombardi Award™, presented by the Rotary Club of Houston, takes great pride in recognizing the remarkable accomplishments of the "Seven Blocks of Granite" Champions. These extraordinary individuals have not only upheld the legacy of Vince Lombardi but have also made significant contributions to the advancement of cancer research and the betterment of the lives of cancer patients and their families. The title "Seven Blocks of Granite" serves as a tribute to Vince Lombardi's illustrious history as one of the legendary "Seven Blocks of Granite" during his tenure at Fordham University."
ZoAnn Dreyer, M.D.
Dr. Dreyer is the Sidney L. and Donald F. Faust Professor in Pediatric Cancer Survivorship and Medical Director of the Long-Term Survivor Center at Texas Children’s Hospital Cancer Center, as well as Professor in Pediatrics, Hematology-Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine. Over 1000 childhood cancer survivors are evaluated every year for delayed effects of their prior cancer therapy. Survivors are patients who have been off therapy for at least 2 years after completing their cancer therapy. She is currently the principal investigator for an innovative, nationwide protocol for infants with acute lymphoid leukemia that has resulted in dramatically improved survival rates. Dr. Dreyer is frequently featured in medical stories for Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital. Dr. Dreyer has been involved with the Lombardi Award and a Champion for the Front-Line Kids outreach for over 25 years.
Arif Kamal, M.D., MBA, MHS
Dr. Kamal is the first-ever chief patient officer for the American Cancer Society. He drives the coordinated efforts to accelerate progress against cancer through the organization’s patient-facing activities, leading ACS patient support objectives and developing strategic plans to measurably improve the lives of cancer patients and their families. He oversees clinical leadership, patient navigation, educational programs, lodging and transportation solutions as well as all aspects of organizational functions that touch cancer patients across 5000 communities across the globe. Prior to joining ACS, Dr. Kamal served for more than 12 years as an oncologist, researcher and innovative leader at Duke University and the Duke assessment and palliative care and continues to keep a small palliative care clinical practice at Duke Cancer Center. In addition to his clinical and academic pursuits at Duke Cancer Center, Dr. Kamal co-founded Prepped Health, a company that develops innovative technology solutions to educate and engage patients facing a serious illness like cancer and their caregivers.
Boyi Gan, Ph.D
Dr. Gan is the N. G. and Helen Hawkins Distinguished Professor for Cancer Research and Director, Radiation and Cancer Metabolism Research Program in Experimental Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is an exceptional cancer researcher whose groundbreaking discoveries have revolutionized the understanding of cancer cell death and metabolic vulnerability in cancer therapy. Dr. Gan’s critical discoveries and pioneering work have received widespread recognition through numerous awards and grant support. Dr. Gan is an asset to the state of Texas and the field of cancer research. His work has led to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment, making him a world-renowned scientist.
Raghu Kalluri, M.D, Ph.D
Dr. Kalluri is the chair and professor of Cancer Biology and Director of the Metastasis Research Center at the University of Texas M.D Anderson Cancer Center. Over his more than 30-year research career, Dr. Kalluri has continuously generated groundbreaking hypotheses and discoveries that have led to widespread recognition, awards and grants and formed the bedrock of our understanding of the study of cell/tissue microenvironment and its impact on cancer progression and metastasis and tissue injury and repair/regeneration. Dr. Raghu’s strong commitment to training the next generation of scientists is a unique quality reflected in the service he has provided in training over 300 researchers, many now in leadership positions at top institutions across the globe. Colleagues praise Dr. Kalluri as a gifted researcher and mentor who has changed the way we think of cancer and its treatment.
Katherine A Hutcheson, Ph.D.
Dr. Hutcheson is Professor of Head and Neck Surgery and Section Chief for Speech Pathology and Audiology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.. She is a nationally and internationally recognized master clinician and thought leader in the fields of cancer/speech/swallow rehabilitation and outcomes research. Dr. Hutcheson has carried out groundbreaking research studies for the standard of care for prevention and management of head and neck cancer treatment-related morbidities. She has personally trained numerous clinician-investigators who graduated to become the next generation of field-changing speech/language pathologists and outcomes researchers.
Eric S. Shafer, M.D., MHS
Dr. Schafer is Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Hematology and Oncology at Baylor College of Medicine and the Texas Children’s Cancer Center where he is a member of the Leukemia Program and Developmental Therapeutics Program. As such, his clinical interests include caring for children with high risk acute leukemias and children with all cancer types requiring treatment on early phase clinical trials. He is one of the few physicians in the country to be fellowship trained and board certified in both pediatric hematology/oncology and clinical pharmacology. He has used this unique training pedigree to develop and lead multiple local, national, and international clinical studies investigating both novel therapies and innovative modeling and advanced monitoring techniques for delivering established chemotherapeutics to make them individualized, more effective and less toxic. He holds leadership positions in the Therapeutics Advances in Childhood Leukemia and Lymphoma (TACL) consortium, an international organization which develops and executes trials of novel therapies in advanced and relapsed/refractory leukemias and lymphomas in children and on the T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) task force within the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) where he will lead the upcoming international study investigating novel drugs and strategies in the treatment of newly diagnosed T-cell ALL and lymphoblastic lymphoma.
The Lombardi Family
Following the passing of Vince Lombardi, the Rotary Club of Houston received authorization from his widow, Marie Lombardi, and his sister, Madeleine Lombardi Werner, to establish the Lombardi Award. It was established with a clear understanding that the proceeds generated from this award would be dedicated to cancer research. With the unwavering support and active involvement of the Lombardi family, the Lombardi Award has been able to raise millions of dollars for cancer research over the years. Furthermore, the Lombardi family's commitment extends to the Vince Lombardi Cancer Foundation, which serves as a tribute to Coach Lombardi's enduring legacy. This foundation is dedicated to preventing cancer, providing the highest quality care to individuals battling cancer, and tirelessly working towards finding a cure for this devastating disease.