American Cancer Society Honors Physician for Distinguished Service

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American Cancer Society logoHONOLULU – Melvin P. Palalay, M.D., was presented with the American Cancer Society’s St. George National Award, the Society’s most prestigious division volunteer honor.

Dr. Palalay is one of 19 inspirational individuals from across the country who received the award for outstanding service to the community in support of the Society’s mission to finish the fight against cancer. Recipients were chosen based on their continuous leadership, commitment and dedication to key initiatives in the areas of fundraising, mission delivery, patient support, legislative advocacy and event engagement.


“As a well-respected oncologist with great personal warmth in our community, Dr. Palalay is a great asset to the American Cancer Society,” said Erin Moncada, senior director of community engagement for the Society. “He serves as a mentor to new board members, and he always has been a willing spokesperson for the Society, adding great value to our presence in Hawaii Pacific.”

Immediate past president of the Hawaii Pacific Board of Directors, Palalay has been an American Cancer Society volunteer for more than 10 years. He has used his expertise as an oncologist and hematologist to serve as a value spokesperson for Society events the Society at events, for programs and in the media. In addition, Palalay participates in Society events, including Relay For Life, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and galas.

Since conceived in 1949 by Dr. Charles S. Cameron, former Society medical and scientific director, the St. George National Award has been presented annually to Society volunteers nationwide. To be nominated, a volunteer must have served as a leader in community mission delivery and/ or governance for a minimum of six continuous years and must have made a significant impact on the Society’s strategic goals and mission-driven programs. Nominations are made by local boards, approved by the St. George National Award Task Force and presented to the American Cancer Society Board of Directors.

“The volunteers honored with this award have dedicated their time and resources to the fight with this award have dedicated their time and resources to fight against cancer,” said Pamela K. Meyerhoffer, FAHP, volunteer chair of the American Cancer Society Board of Directors. “Their commitment to and passion for our mission is remarkable.”

In addition to Palalay, the Society also honored:
•    John Alfonso, CPA
•    Arnold M. Altman
•    Andrejs Avots-Avotins, MD, PhD
•    William H. Boykin Jr., MD
•    Dennis Cataldo
•    Katherine L. Griem, MD, FACR
•    Stephanie Harriston-Diggs
•    Karen Humphrey
•    Charles K. Kicker
•    Mark Kopczynski
•    Brian A. Marlow
•    William J. Mayer, MD, MPH
•    Tina Pidwell
•    Chand Rohatgi, MD
•    Patsy Romero
•    Phillip A. Wenk, DDS
•    Bruce D. Waldholtz, MD
•    Beth Walker

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society’s efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. As we celebrate 100 years of service, we’re determined to finish the fight against cancer. We’re finding cures as the nation’s  largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit