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2006 Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award; Report from the Dinner Chairs
By Carol and Benson Klein
Dr. Kyle presenting the
award to Dr. Durie

The IMF's Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2003 to honor physicians whose lifetime body of work most exemplifies a singular dedication to and compassion for myeloma patients and treatment of their disease, and furthers the ultimate goal of finding a cure. Dr. Kyle was the first recipient of the award named in his honor. In his more than 40 years at Mayo Clinic, Dr. Kyle has never wavered from his commitment to the needs of patients with myeloma. He has devoted his life's work to them, gaining recognition the world over as a pioneer and respected leader in the advancement of research, clinical treatment, and education about myeloma. Dr. Kyle is a founding member of the IMF Board of Directors and chairman of the IMF Scientific Advisory Board, a position he has held for the past 15 years. His humility, dedication, sense of humor, and compassionate nature are among the many reasons why the IMF named this award in his honor.

The Fourth Annual Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Dr. Brian G.M. Durie, an absolutely terrific human being, dedicated physician, and friend. Dr. Durie is National Director for Hematologic Malignancies for Aptium Oncology in Los Angeles, California, where he is also Specialist in Multiple Myeloma and Related Disorders for Cedars-Sinai Outpatient Cancer Center. He is the Chairman of the Board of the IMF, and also serves as one of its Scientific Advisors. Among his many impressive appointments, publications, and research accomplishments, Dr. Durie co-created the Durie/Salmon Myeloma Staging System, which is the vital building block for the International Staging System that was co-developed by Dr. Durie with the International Working Group. Dr. Durie has written over 400 research papers, sixteen book chapters, and five books, work which has impacted myeloma treatment around the world.

Benson and Carol Klein

We were honored to be asked to serve as dinner chairs for the 2006 Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award. We have the absolute highest respect for both Dr. Kyle and Dr. Durie. And we enjoy working on behalf of a community and a foundation that's given us so much. In advance of the event, we sent letters to inviting our friends and family to join us for this very worthwhile cause that is so near and dear to our hearts. We enclosed two recent Myeloma Today articles. The first focused on the IMF's Kyle Awards. The second article featured our journey with myeloma and explained why we've become so involved in volunteering for the IMF. The response was terrific!

The award dinner took place on May 16, 2006, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. We have been a part of the IMF and have known Dr. Durie since 1999, and the location of this year's award ceremony enabled many of our friends and family members to join us at the event and see firsthand why this Foundation is so near and dear to our hearts.

The award evening at the National Press Club started with a cocktail reception, with fabulous wines from the Calistoga Estate in Napa Valley, California. Our friends Bill Redkin and Don Wilder drew an original comic and presented it to Dr. Durie. Since 1983, their comic strip "Crock" has occasionally featured a character named "Trooper Benson" and, with Bill and Don's permission, we have used the character on T-shirts and baseball hats as part of our fundraising campaigns to benefit the IMF.

Guests spent a very friendly and enjoyable cocktail hour, before proceeding into the main dining room. Mr. Michael Katz (Senior Vice President, Booz-Allen & Hamilton) served as the evening's Master of Ceremonies. Michael has been a member of the IMF Board of Directors for over ten years and has been a myeloma survivor since 1990. He introduced Susie Novis, who extended a warm welcome to the crowd.

Then it was Benson's turn to address the crowd. It was truly an honor to speak in the presence of so many remarkable physicians. It was an even greater honor to be a part of a tribute to such a respected, brilliant, dedicated, and truly loved person as Dr. Brian Durie. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to learn of Brian's extensive education, experience and commitment to the myeloma community. Benson's remarks were intended as a "Roast to Brian" and the dinner guests were happy to share a moment of levity while honoring a superb physician, a truly fabulous human being and our dear friend. As far as we are concerned, there is no one more deserving of the prestigious Robert A. Kyle Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dr. Gregory Mundy, Benson Klein, Susie Novis, Michael Katz, Dr. Brian Durie,
Dr. Julian Adams, Stephanie Gallagher, Dr. Robert Kyle, Dr. Dalsu Baris, and Richard Saletan

The impressive roster of speakers that followed included Julian Adams (Chief Scientific Officer, Infinity Pharmaceuticals), Dalsu Baris (Staff Scientist, Cancer Epidemiology, National Cancer Institute), Stephanie Gallagher (President, World City America & World City Foundation), Gregory Mundy (Professor of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center), and Richard Saletan (Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Weston Group). Howard Urnovitz (Chief Executive Officer, Chronix Biomedical) was unable to attend but his words were read on his behalf.

Dr. Kyle, who has known Dr. Durie for more than 30 years, spoke of Dr. Durie's many professional accomplishments and his dedication to putting patients first. He then presented the award to Dr. Durie. The acceptance speech was wonderful, and allowed the guests to glimpse Dr. Durie's warm and jovial personality. Dr. Durie shared with all of us what the IMF and myeloma researchers and clinicians are all about. His speech was delightful, educational, and very meaningful, and ended the evening ended on a high note.

NOTE: Benson Klein was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 1998. For the past four years, he has served on the IMF Board of Directors. Benson and Carol Klein have chaired two IMF Galas. Thanks to the generosity of the Kleins, and their friends and family, the "Trooper" Benson Campaigns have raised over $250,000 for the IMF's research grant program.

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