A Breath of Hope Lung Foundation (ABOH) is so grateful for all of the wonderful volunteers that support our mission. Each month the ABOH staff selects one volunteer that goes above and beyond and features them here. This month, we are proud to highlight Manish Patel, D.O., as ABOH’s Volunteer of the Month!
Learn More About Dr. Patel:
What is your connection to lung cancer?
I have been around lung cancer for most of my life. My dad was a lung doctor in rural Indiana and would bring me along to see patients when he was doing a bronchoscopy or making rounds in the hospital. I probably first saw a lung cancer patient when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was not really until I was in medical school that I began to think about my future career in lung cancer. I did an elective rotation in medical oncology at Indiana University and at that time, the fellow who was teaching me was Nasser Hanna – now a prominent lung cancer oncologist. I think that experience was formative for me and after this, I knew that I wanted to do medical oncology. From the beginning, I knew that whatever field I chose, I wanted to be able to make an impact. Lung cancer was (and remains) the leading cause of cancer-related death and I felt that that this was my opportunity to have an impact.
How did you find A Breath of Hope?
When I was a fellow at the University of Minnesota, I knew about A Breath of Hope through Arek Dudek, M.D., Ph.D. At the time, Dr. Dudek had recruited Dr. Fujioka, my colleague, to serve on one of the committees for A Breath of Hope. I believe Arek had suggested that I apply for A Breath of Hope Fellowship award and I was lucky enough to be selected as the first Breath of Hope Fellow. The award was really helpful to me as an early career researcher as it validated me, to some degree, in the eyes of my colleagues at the institution, and helped to protect my time doing the research.
How have you volunteered and what has it meant to you?
As an ABOH Fellow and being local here in Minnesota, I was offered many opportunities to interact with A Breath of Hope at DocSpot events, The Lung/Run Walk, and other events and came to understand the important work that was being done. I feel A Breath of Hope allows me another avenue to impact the care of patients with lung cancer – both in terms of the research that it funds, but also the numerous services that are offered to patients that I have now been a part of. I have only increased my involvement with A Breath of Hope since then. I now serve as the chairperson of the Scientific Committee and am involved in guiding the research that we support, and also serve on the Board of Directors.
What A Breath of Hope event or activity are you most looking forward to this next year?
For me, I really enjoy the A Breath of Hope Summit every year. I really enjoy the ability to interact with patients, survivors, and caregivers and provide them with useful information to help guide them through the journey. It is also always gratifying to be able to share with the group there, the latest and greatest in lung cancer advances. It has always been such an uplifting experience for me.