The Terese Lasser Memorial Award, given by the American Cancer Society (ACS), annually recognizes and honors someone, who has made outstanding contributions to the society's Reach to Recovery program, a volunteer network connecting breast cancer survivors with those who have received a breast cancer diagnosis.
On Wednesday, the American Cancer Society, South Atlantic Division encompassing Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Washington, D.C., North and South Carolina, and Georgia awarded Dr. Davis Scott Timbert, of Southern Crescent Breast Specialists in Jonesboro, with the 2009 Lasser award, making him the first physician, and male, to receive the honor.
The award was given during a ceremony on Wednesday morning at Timbert's office, located inside the Spivey Station Surgery Center in Jonesboro. Mary Gilbert, a 14-year breast cancer survivor and a member of the ACS Public Policy Advisory Committee, said ACS chose Timbert as its Southeast recipient because his office is one of few in the country to integrate referral to the Reach to Recovery program into its treatment regimen.
"When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, nobody contacted me," Gilbert said. "I didn't know anybody else who had breast cancer. When the diagnosis [of breast cancer] comes up, this black hole opens up, and they [the patient] thinks they are going to die. People in support groups do better than people who aren't.
"Normally, we give this award to Reach to Recovery volunteers for what they do," she added. "We felt like we would not be talking to many of these woman without the work of Dr. Timbert."
According to Lisa Cockerham, mission delivery manager for the ACS Peachtree City Office, the Lasser award was named after Terese Lasser, a breast cancer survivor who started the Reach to Recovery Program in 1952, following her own battle with breast cancer. Cockerham said Timbert not only promotes the program, but goes beyond the call of duty to ease the fears of patients.
"If you work in the community, you know whose names are in the community," Cockerham said. "Every time we've heard a comment, it was always good. He gives more of himself. You naturally think that physicians are supposed to care, but some people do this so long that it is just a job. This is not just a job to him, it's a passion."
According to Timbert, his practice opened in Stockbridge in 2003, and moved to Spivey Station in 2008. He said his office is unique in that it has radiologists on-call, who can be back with detection results in 24 hours, as opposed to two weeks, as in some offices.
Every year for the past few years, he added, his office has also commissioned artists to incorporate the images of his former patients into encouraging works of art.
In 2008, Timbert commissioned Hattiesburg, Miss. portrait artist, Luke Gandy, to paint "Portraits of Strength," a series of oil paintings incorporating the images of local breast cancer survivors. In 2009, he commissioned McDonough photographer, Ronnie Owings ,to create "Faces of Hope," a series of large portraits illustrating local women in the different stages of recovery.
This year, Timbert hired McDonough decorators, Cookie and Mike Roberts, to design a series of plaques with the inspiring stories of former patients to hang in the office's examination rooms.
Timbert, whose mother is also a breast cancer survivor, said he is honored by the award, but added that he has only treated patients the way he would want his family to be treated.
"I had a person who I called at 9:30 p.m., at night to give her a diagnosis," Timbert said. "She said you're not like other doctors' offices, and I said, We try not to be like other doctors' offices.' Over the years we've been doing this, I've always asked how we could do this better. Most of the time, I ask what would I like to do for my wife, my mom, or my daughter. I think it [the award] recognizes the practice for being able to do things a little differently."