Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs and Dan Haney receive public service awards

04/05/05

PHILADELPHIA -- In special ceremonies at the 96th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), U. S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif); Miss America 2005 Deidre Downs; and Daniel Q. Haney, former medical editor with the Associated Press will be honored with the 2005 AACR Public Service Award. The citation gives special recognition to each winner's unique role in fostering cancer research.

Randy "Duke" Cunningham was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1990 after a series of successful careers -- educator, businessman, and highly decorated U.S. Navy fighter pilot in Vietnam. Congressman Cunningham, a prostate cancer survivor, has been a strong and long-time supporter of funding for cancer research through his committee work in the House and related efforts on behalf of the biomedical research community. His leadership was instrumental in achieving the five-year doubling of the budget for the National Institutes of Health.

As Miss America 2005, Deidre Downs has made funding for childhood cancer research a central theme of her reign. Downs, an aspiring pediatrician who has been accepted as a medical student at the Alabama School of Medicine, is serving as a national spokesperson for childhood cancers and their families through CureSearch, a partnership with the Children's Oncology Group. Prior to her reign as Miss America, Downs launched outreach programs for cancer patients and research in her home state of Alabama. She created "Making Miracles," a program where high school students volunteer in the cancer unit at Children's Hospital in Birmingham. Later, she spearheaded an initiative to persuade the state of Alabama to offer a "Curing Childhood Cancer" automobile license plate, the purchase of which helps to fund cancer research.

Dan Haney was a medical editor for the Associated Press (AP) until he retired late last year after 34 years with the world's oldest and largest news service. After two decades as a science writer and medical editor of AP's Boston bureau, he was named an AP Special Correspondent, a title given to only a handful of AP reporters. Among his many honors, in 2000 Haney won the first Howard L. Lewis Achievement Award, given by the American Heart Association and the Victor Cohn Prize for Excellence in Medical Science Reporting from the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. During Haney's tenure at the AP, if there was a major story in cancer research, it was almost a certainty that Haney's byline would be on top of it.

The award ceremony for all three recipients will take place at 9:30 a.m., Monday, April 18th in Hall A of the Anaheim Convention Center.

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